For some time, the trend of making biopic in Bollywood has come fast. Till now only biopics were being made on famous players and actors but after Hrithik Roshan’s ‘Super 30’ a biopic has been made on another great mathematician of India, Shakuntala Devi. The speed of calculating Shakuntala Devi was so fast that she was known as Human-Computer all over the world and her name was also recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Cast: Vidya Balan, Spandan Chaturvedi, Jisshu Sengupta, Sanya Malhotra, Amit Sadh, Prakash Belawadi
Director: Anu Menon
Writers: Anu Menon, Nayanika Mahtani, Ishita Moitra
Streaming Platform: Amazon Prime Video
Music by: Karan Kulkarni
Running time: 127 minutes
Vidya Balan is back again with the Woman Centric film. Vidya Balan plays a mother and an independent woman in the biopic of mathematician, astrologer, and writer Shakuntala Devi. This character of Vidya is made colorful on-screen by co-star Sanya Malhotra. Director Anu Menon has done the work of tying them all. Many questions of life between the multiplication of mathematics entertain you.
Story-Line: The film ‘Shakuntala Devi’ is the story of a woman Shakuntala who is a brilliant student of mathematics since childhood, she lives on her own terms. This story starts from his childhood to youth and then to old age. Shakuntala says from childhood that she is the appa (father) because all the household is being brought by her earnings. This scene is really going to fill every woman with pride. The film starts in Karnataka and reaches London. There is definitely such a moment in every other scene when your heart becomes clapping. On seeing this, the whole world starts calling Shakuntala as Human-Computer. But where is a woman’s life so easy? With the achievements of Shakuntala Devi, an attempt has been made to show her close relationship with her daughter here. Director Anu Menon has also focused on the life of ‘Shakuntala’ on the mother-daughter relationship. To see what else is there for the rest of the film, you have to watch the film.
Review: Some people are much ahead of their time. Shakuntala Devi, a famous mathematician, and writer by the name of human-computer are also one of the few such persons. In our society it was generally believed that mathematics is not for girls, arts subjects like Hindi, English is fine for them. Even if a girl had to study science, then biology was the only option for her. At the same time, Shakuntala Devi (1929–2013) not only dismantled this notion but surprised the whole world by solving impossible arithmetic calculations for humans. In less time than a computer. That too without any formal education. She had not even seen the face of the school. Due to this extraordinary merit, she received the title of ‘Human Computer’ and her name was included in the ‘Guinness Book of World Records’.
But Shakuntala Devi was not just a wonderful mathematician. She was also a great example of women’s empowerment. When words like ‘feminism’ were not even in vogue, she set an example of female freedom. In the 1950s, when Indian women were forced to step out of the house, it was also considered an ‘incident’, when she went abroad to test her mathematical talent. She lives life on her own terms, Enjoyed life with vivacity. She didn’t care what anyone would say. When the word ‘LGBT’ was not even invented, she wrote a book like ‘The World of Homosexuals’. Also contested the Lok Sabha election against the then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi. She was also an astrologer and also wrote books on cooking.
When Shakuntala Devi’s daughter decided to separate from her mother:
The story begins with Anu, who wants to serve a legal relationship with her mother Shakuntala Devi, but why and how, and the story is set in the 1940s background. There is a village near Bangalore where a girl from a Kannada family surprises everyone with her sharp mind and this has become the source of her family’s upbringing. Without going to school, Shakuntala solves tough math questions in-jokes. His father transforms her art into his greed. The death of her sister makes Shakuntala a rebel. But her math skills, passion, and willingness took Shakuntala to London and on the world stage, she has become a human-computer. Shakuntala Devi gets the name money and fame but gets away from the family.
Amidst success, Shakuntala falls in love many times, and heartbroken, and eventually marries Paritosh and becomes a mother stuck in her family. But Maths does not leave her and she becomes busy again in her shows. But in the midst of all this, her marriage breaks down and she gets separated with her daughter. She gives full love to the daughter but turns her daughter away from her father. The love between mother and daughter turns into isolation. Shakuntala also distances her daughter and son-in-law from her success. Shakuntala then realizes how lonely and lonely this enchantress of numbers is.
The versatile personality celebrates the life of the same Shakuntala Devi film ‘Shakuntala Devi, Human-Computer’, released on the OTT platform Amazon Prime Video. It is a happy coincidence that a few days before the release of the film, She was given a certificate of record, which was assumed by her daughter Anupama Banerjee. The film is not just a biography of an extraordinary mathematician, but also the story of an ordinary human being, which has flaws along with merits. It is the story of a reactionary daughter as well as a dominating woman who wants to keep a stronghold on her daughter. It is also the story of mother-daughter ups and downs, a relationship full of love and bitterness, which is projected on the screen from the perspective of a daughter.
Mathematics has been a dull subject for the common people, but it is introduced in the film in a very interesting way. The screenplay has been written after much research. The dialogues are also very interesting and give pleasure. Since the story is written after discussions with Shakuntala Devi’s daughter Anupama, there is no doubt of its authenticity. Yes, some cinematic leeway is definitely taken to provide interestingness to the film.
The film gains momentum from the very first scene. There is no lethargy in this. The events proceed with full speed and the film never lets loose its grip on the audience. Although Shakuntala’s personality appears negative in a large part of the film, the climax serves to dispel this negative perception. As a director, Anu Menon impresses greatly. He has presented it as a thoroughly entertaining film and portrayed in such a way that every aspect of Shakuntala Devi’s personality comes out openly.
Seeing Vidya Balan in the role of Shakuntala Devi, it seems as if this character was made for her only. She has presented the character in such a way that it does not seem that she is acting. Her acting is very natural and compelling. Sanya Malhotra leaves her mark in the role of Shakuntala Devi’s daughter Anupama. Jishu Sengupta is cast as Shakuntala’s husband Paritosh Banerjee. His acting perfectly meets the character’s need. Anupama’s husband Ajay plays Abhay Kumar in the role of Amit Sadh. He has appeared in a different avatar since the role of a tuff man after a long time and also fits into it. Prakash Belawadi as Shakuntala’s father and Sheeba Chaddha in the brief role of Tarabai. The acting of the cast is another strong side of this film. All the actors have done their responsibility well.
- The special thing about the film’s story is that it does not stop at Shakuntala Devi alone. The story is not just based on mathematics. It is a story of a woman, a mother, and a daughter. The story runs in two parts. Another shows the story of Shakuntala Devi, while another and the story of Anu Banerjee are also shown.
- Talking of acting, the film is completely Vidya Balan’s show. It seems that you Vidya takes the character off the screen comfortably without any pressure. At the same time, Sanya has filled a lot of emotion in Anu’s character. After Dangal, Pathakha, and Congratulations, Sanya has challenged herself a lot at the level of acting this time. There are not many scenes in Amita Sadh. At the same time, Jishu Sengupta plays a lot in the role of Shakuntala Devi’s husband.
- The art direction of Shakuntala Devi is also quite correct. You do not have the feeling of new times in old times. Whether it was 1950s London or 1999 Bangalore, it was launched on screen. Director Anu Menon has been known to take you in time. Language and localization have been taken care of completely.
- Due to the biopic, the story did not have much experimentation. Because of this, it does not go to that level in terms of entertainment, like Dangal, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, or other films. Overall, the film does not bore the story, but it does not do much entertainment either.
- The excellent actress likes Vidya Balan, the best character like Shakuntala Devi. Despite this, if the film does not go to its best level, then it is the lack of a director. Anu, who has created web series like Four More Shots Please, has managed to highlight the female side. But in the case of emotion, she seems a little weak. Anu, who wrote a screenplay with Nayaniya, could have improved the film’s monologs.
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Music: All the songs in the film are very melodious. Every song mixes with the story and our hearts go into the mind. The idea of resorting to singing to show the relationship of mother and daughter is also appreciated.
IMDB Rating: 6.4/10
In the end: Amazon Prime Video’s film ‘Shakuntala Devi’ is similar to Sanya Malhotra’s hosting in Vidya Balan’s show. There is a song at the end of the film, ‘Paas Nahin Toh, Fail Nahin’. The film fits the song perfectly.
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