There is something fascinating about cults, whether or not we buy into them. Mass hypnotists, massive influencers, and magnetic personalities – cult leaders are in a league of their own. Look at real life personalities like Ma Anand Sheela or Gurumayi Chidvilasananda – reportedly the inspiration behind the swami in Eat, Pray, Love. Shrouded in mystery and often known for their not-so-legal practices, these larger-than-life figures make for great drawing room conversations and excellent drama.
So, why are we talking about cult leaders suddenly? It’s just that MX Player dropped the trailer for its gripping thriller, Hello Mini Season 3 – an MX Original Series – and a fresh, new character got us thinking.
As the trailer suggests, Rivanah (Anuja Joshi) driven by guilt, fear, and uncertainty finds herself in a cult called Solace – led by Kamyani Devi (Suchitra Pillai). Troubled by her past and haunted by the Stranger’s unconfirmed motives, Rivanah seeks answers at the cult. Pillai’s character, narration, and overall look seem to suggest that the inspiration behind KD Maa could be inspired by real life. Both Ma Anand Sheela and Gurumayi Chidvilasananda come to mind, as KD Maa’s calm, steely voice and distinct get-up leave us unsure about her real intentions. History would attest that more often than not, such leaders are given to illegal and suspicious activities that the cult is often a cover for.
What draws people to cults? Those with difficult personal histories often seek safety, solidarity, and guidance in such organizations. Rivanah possibly reaches out to Solace looking for answers and means to overcome her guilt. But is she looking in the right place? The trailer doesn’t give out any spoilers, but it seems safe to say that her encounter with Kamyani Devi will only lead to further twists in the plot. Not all looks kosher in Solace, and we cannot wait to see how this new angle plays out in the series.
We reached out to Suchitra Pillai to check if her character was indeed inspired by any real life gurus, but it was, in fact, the opposite. She said, "KD Maa is a fictional character and doesn't draw any inspiration from any real life cult/ spiritual leaders. The clothes, demeanour, ideologies, appearance – everything about my character was a blank slate that we improvised and worked upon. Personally for me, playing the role of KD Maa has been highly interesting. It is something that I have never done before. So when a role like this came my way, I was very excited about doing it."
Finally – will this be the season where Rivanah finds out who the Stranger is and what their real intentions are?
In Season 3, Rivanah goes back to work and tries to lead a normal life until her memories start haunting her, leading to nightmares and confusion. Meanwhile, events from the last season including the sudden death of a character, pushes her to find answers. And that’s where Solace steps in, even as we cannot be sure whether the experience will help Rivanah or further push her into the dark depths of the Stranger’s trap.
Based on bestselling author Novoneel Chakraborty’s Stranger trilogy, Hello Mini is produced by Applause Entertainment in association with Goldie Behl’s Rose Audio Visual. The riveting thriller, with an IMDB rating of 8.5, stars Anuja Joshi, Mrinal Dutt, Abhinav Sharma, Anshul Pandey, Vibhav Roy, Nirisha Basnett, and Vikrant Koul among others.
Hello Mini 3 is now streaming on MX Player.