About

Jaya, a young purse snatcher, survives Mumbai’s unforgiving streets by posing as a boy and living among a band of thieves. When she meets a wealthy businessman who might be the father who abandoned her, she sets out to reclaim her rightful place in his family, in this engrossing drama that was shortlisted for a Student Academy Award.

Jaya is inspired by a real street girl. Several years ago, police arrested a notorious Indian gang member who was wanted in over a hundred cases of purse and jewelry snatchings. The police assumed they had caught a boy, but after an intense interrogation, they realized they had actually captured a girl. She was masquerading as a boy because she feared being sold into prostitution.

Writer/Director Puja Maewal: “I wanted to feature a female protagonist who is both aggressive and vulnerable, a combination that I don’t often see in female characters onscreen. And we have never before seen a film from the perspective of a Mumbai street girl, which is why I wrote JAYA.”

JAYA was a Semifinalist in the Student Academy Awards, a Jury Award Winner at the Directors Guild of America Student Awards, and screened in 50+ film festivals worldwide. Puja Maewal’s feature screenplay of JAYA was also selected for the Writers Guild of America’s Feature Access program and Film Independent’s Screenwriting Lab. In addition, it was a Semifinalist in the Academy Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting.