Just like in Asli Naqli, Dev Anand plays a rich man disillusioned by his prosperity. One day, a petty thief, played by Sudesh Kumar, breaks into his mansion and on being accosted, threatens to kill him. Anand acts wisely and pacifies the frayed nerves of the young thief and promises to not let the law punish him if he allows him to come and stay at his house in the nearby slum. Anand is so fed up with his riches that he wishes to taste poverty. So, Sudesh takes him to his house, where he and his elder sister, Mala, live. Mala is not informed of Anand's real identity. Thus starts the fun. Mala is ravishing and Anand is understandably quite struck by her beauty. He feels good to be with such a company and does not mind the hardships that he has to go through at this humble abode.
Mala (played by a beautiful Mala Sinha), is worried sick that her brother is fallen into bad company, namely the local rogue (a robust and hollering Jayant) and hence is doing wrong things. She wants him to find a decent job and be back on good tracks. Extracting a promise from Sudesh that he will abide by his sister's wishes, Anand sees to it that he gets a decent job in an office. Everything is running well but the local rogue will have none of this peace in the locality.
He is irked that Sudesh is a good man now, that Anand is romancing Mala, the beauty he wants for himself and that slowly the residents of the locality are becoming brave enough to ward off his goons with tough words. Here comes the struggle between will and weakness to easily fall prey to wickedness. Jayant sows the seed of misunderstandings in Sudesh's mind and he, a gullible man, accepts the bait. This results in a gargantuan miscommunication between Anand and Sudesh and Mala has to suffer in the process. A murderous attack on Anand also takes place. But every crease is ironed out in the end with the good souls going home happy.
In a nutshell, Maya is a twisted second coming of Asli Naqli. There are bits that are hugely enjoyable but there are also those moments where you feel how the Hrishikesh Mukherjee enterprise is so much better. I'd have loved to see Kashyap make better use of Helen, Lalita Pawar and Agha except for in one tiny song.
Dev Anand looks good and is spontaneous. Jayant has a powerful voice. There is one tiny scene near the end where you get to see the 12-year-old Amjad Khan sharing screen space with his real father! Sudesh Kumar is quite convincing as the impressionable young man. Mala Sinha is beautiful and does what is required of her. She is pleasing to the eye, has a soft and sensitive temperament but sometimes is a bit too weepy. Though I liked Mala Sinha quite a lot, I always thought she turned into a glamorous actor once technicolour came into being. Here she is a simple dame, with a ravishing smile and a charming personality.
The other songs are quite melodious too. There's the bouncy Koi sone ke dilwala, the awesome Phir ekbaar kaho and other nice tracks picturised on the scintillating Helen.
But, when it comes to the scenestealer it has to be Tasveer teri dil mein. Call it breathtaking melody or the piece de resistance, my vote and heart will always go to this mesmerising classic...