Shakuntala Devi is a biographical comedy-drama film written and directed by Anu Menon. The film stars Vidya Balan as Shakuntala Devi, who was also known as the "human computer" along with Jisshu Sengupta, Sanya Malhotra and Amit Sadh. Shakuntala Devi has direct digital release today on Amazon Prime Video. Let’s get into actual part:
An unschooled Shakuntala Devi's knack to casually evaluate complicated mathematical problems draws the attention of her father when she was 5. He treats Shakuntala as a money machine and forces her to perform difficult calculations on stages. Leaving her family behind, she moves to London. After reaching many heights in career, she marries a Bengali Paritosh Banerji (Jisshu Sengupta) with whom she has a daughter Anupama (Sanya Malhotra). A Guinness record holder becomes a failure personally with divorce from husband and hatred from daughter.
A heartfelt adaptation of the life of a legendary woman Shakuntala Devi whose love for numbers is the substance of the film, it is reliably amusing and emotionally engaging. Director Anu Menon wins brownie points for her balancing act. Besides numbers, the film has right dose of drama that makes us love and hate the protagonist at different intervals. Mother and daughter relationship is shown very convincingly. The film has some praise-worthy dialogues such as - We Indians are like that only- drama or nothing, maths but nothing. Cinematography by Keiko Nakahara and BGM by Karan Kulkarni stand out best technically, wherein editing by Antara Lahiri is sharp. Production values are top-notch.
Coming to performances, Vidya Balan lived in the character of Shakuntala Devi, who is fun-loving, with utmost poise and conviction. Jisshu Sengupta makes his presence felt as her husband. Sanya Malhotra gave her best as Shakuntala Devi’s daughter and Amit Sadh is cool as her husband. Others are okay.
Anu Menon’s Writing And Direction
Few Dull Moments In Second Half
The life of Shakuntala Devi is not known to many, because she is not a cinema person, she is a maths genius. The film’s trailer garnered lots of attention, thus making everyone to wait for this day. The much needed drama that is needed to make a biopic is there in Shakuntala Devi’s personal life and director though took cinematic liberty made it as an engaging entertainer.
The film begins on serious note with daughter filing criminal case against Shakuntala Devi and made her mind to send her behind bars. Story then dates back to 1934 in Bangalore where Devi’s ability to memorize numbers is discovered by her family. It’s a nonlinear narration. Shakuntala’s motto is- life is too short, to care about what others think. True to it, she loves what she does and doesn’t care about what others think, including her husband and daughter. She in order to sell her book spreads rumors on her husband as well.
Shakuntala Devi’s daughter on the other hand develops hatred towards mathematics and her mother. She wants to be her father’s side and wishes to lead a normal life every one of her classmates. But, she realizes her mistake when she gives birth to a child and Shakuntala Devi too realizes that she made a big mistake in life by avoiding her parents completely. The pre-climax was bit dramatic followed by an emotional and equally humorous climax with Vidya Balan as Shakuntala Devi speaking on stage about herself and her daughter, then revealing a mathematical trick.
All in all, Shakuntala Devi is a perfectly made biopic. Vidya Balan’s outstanding performance, Anu Menon’s writing, direction and great support from the technical team are the positive aspects of the film. CJ gives 3 star rating and we recommend you to watch the film.