Production: Sony Pictures Networks India, Vikram Malhotra | Cast: Amit Sadh, Jisshu Sengupta, Sanya Malhotra, Vidya Balan | Direction: Anu Menon

VIDYA BALAN தவிர வேற யாரால என் அம்மா ROLE-அ பண்ண முடியும்? - SHAKUNTALA DEVI'S DAUGHTER OPENS UP



Review By : Behindwoods Review Board, Shilpa Release Date : Jul 31,2020
Movie Run Time : 2 hours 7 minutes Censor Rating : U

When a biopic on mathematical genius Shakuntala Devi was announced - among the many things it reinforced was - how many of us didn’t know who the ‘Human Computer’ was until then and in the context of the National Education Policy being recently announced, is there enough being done to acquaint kids to such stalwarts by way of the curriculum and second, how cinema remains an incredible medium to bring out such stories. To put it plainly, capitalising on blending fiction and fact for a heady mix to keep weariness under control, at the same time, providing credible infotainment.

There isn’t much to say by way of a storyline - born and brought up in Bangalore, a brilliant Devi with no formal education but an uncanny ability to ace numbers, even she can’t explain how she does it, conquers the world, at the same time, engaging in the usual battles - missing the ‘mark’ in being a mother in the sense society expects her to, amidst other things. “Why should I be normal when I can be brilliant?” says a stunning Vidya “Devi” Balan and we can't help but concur.

It is a universally acknowledged truth that daughters despise their mothers. It is also a universally acknowledged truth that daughters understand their mother better long after they are gone. However, in Shakuntala Devi, things aren’t left till the point of no return. Shakuntala and Anupama Banerji (Sanya Malhotra) reconcile before the end is near, which is also thankfully never shown. However, for a film that largely rides on Devi’s flippancy, there are also a few melodramatic mother-daughter sequences that somehow come across as force-fitted rather than take its natural course.

Coming to the performances, finally, a film that shows what can be extracted when you get good actors on board. There isn’t a single person who falls short of what is expected of them. Balan breezes through the role and on more than one occasion has proved that biopics have little to with physical resemblance and more to do with “turning” into the person.

From a few vintage videos we have seen of Devi on the internet, we can see that Vidya has worked hard to get the mannerisms right and has imbibed Shakuntala’s spirit - especially the pride on her face every time she says “Am I correct?” which is quite often. 

Sanya Malhotra, Jisshu Sengupta (Devi’s husband Paritosh Banerji), Amit Sadh as Ajay Abhaya Kumar, Anupama's husband, Prakash Belawadi as Bishaw Mitra Mani, Shakuntala's father and Sheeba Chaddha as Tarabai, Shakuntala's landlady in London, show us why they are the best in the business.

On the flip side, in order to sell a biopic, one needs a certain amount of “masala” in the said person’s life and sadly, a separation from the husband and the usual mother-daughter squabbles over common, domestic squabbles don’t measure up. We wish the writers could have concentrated more on the intriguing parts of Devi’s life like she contesting against former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, being a case in point. Also what provoked her to take on Astrology as an alternate passion, considering how indefinite it is to the definite charm of the world of mathematics?

Cinematography by Keiko Nakahara is a strong point of Shakuntala Devi. The hues, particularly that of London, has been vividly captured. Songs by Sachin–Jigar are hummable and are mostly captured as montages. Antara Lahiri has done commendable work on the non-linear editing.

Verdict: Vidya Balan aces the test if one were to speak in mathematical terms in this delightful watch.
( 2.75 / 5.0 )

Shakuntala Devi (aka) Shakunthala Devi

Shakuntala Devi (aka) Shakunthala Devi is a Hindi movie with production by Sony Pictures Networks India, Vikram Malhotra, direction by Anu Menon. The cast of Shakuntala Devi (aka) Shakunthala Devi includes Amit Sadh, Jisshu Sengupta, Sanya Malhotra, Vidya Balan..