Jaya is a film about a young female purse snatcher, who 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.

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. Puja Maewal was compelled to write this story because the voices of India’s street girls often go unheard.

JAYA was a Semifinalist in the Student Academy Awards, a Jury Award Winner at the Directors Guild of America Student Awards, and a Student BAFTA U.S. Finalist. It 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.