Shakuntala Devi Movie Review: Vidya Balan starrer biopic focuses more on mother and daughter relationship than the incite of mathematical genius.Modified On: 31 July 2020 | Reviewed By: Saurabh S Nair
Shakuntala Devi: Human-Computer is the biopic of maths wizard Shakuntala Devi. The Anu Menon film stars Vidya Balan, Sanya Malhotra and Amit Sadh.
Cast: Vidya Balan, Sanya Malhotra, Amit Sadh, Jisshu Sengupta
Director: Anu Menon
Everyone was excited to know about the incite of the mathematical genius and her techniques of calculation but this Vidya Balan starrer is more about the relationship between Shakuntala Devi and her daughter Anupama Banerjee. This is like you were tuned to watch Richard Attenborough's Gandhi and you got Gandhi, My Father.
The film starts with Sanya Malhotra as Anupama Banerjee real-life daughter of Shakuntala Devi who filed a case against her own mother then the film goes flashback and we see the life of Shakuntala Devi through daughter's lens.
Makers have added lots of commercial element to make it a colour with a slight caricaturish tone to the characters especially the protagonist itself.
The film lacks detailing, the writers have ignored many aspects of Shakuntala Devi's life and just tried to show the major aspects in a brief manner. There are no scenes where we get a reason why this lady is so extra intelligent, how she has the capacity of a computer. But instead of getting these scene, we get a comical scene where the psychiatrist explaining about her functioning of the brain and we get a reply by Shakuntala saying, 'Please talk in English'.
Even the film has shown the episode of Ms Devi writing a book on homosexuals in a very amateurish manner. Even the film shows that Ms Devi has used her ex-husband as homosexual to sell her book. As said before, the film feels functional, in a race to tell us the entire story of her life while skipping over the strokes that made the real-life Shakuntala Devi a woman ahead of her time.
But the makers should be appreciated to sow Shakuntala has real human being with all sorts of weaknesses and attributes which Bollywood usually fails and shows it's the protagonist as super humans.
Vidya Balan is terrific has Shakuntala Devi. She has captured all the nuances and body language of Shakuntala Devi. Sanya is competent but fails to match up to her more illustrious co-star, especially when it comes to the scenes of mother-daughter conflict. Both Jisshu and Amit Sadh, who plays Anu’s husband Abhaya, are charming and solid. Amit gets what is perhaps the most fleshed-out male role in the film and does justice to it.
Shakuntala Devi is not the biopic we were looking for. The film would have been outstanding if they showed the professional life of a maths wizard because nobody knows about it. They would have taken examples from the movies such as The Man Who Knew Infinity, A Beautiful Mind but they choose ignorance.