Shakuntala Devi was one of the well-known mathematicians, and, a movie about her with Vidya Balan starring as the protagonist was intriguing. Fortunately, the film Shakuntala Devi (2020), that was released on Amazon Prime Video was interesting and enjoyable. The film is a must-watch just for Vidya Balan!
The film is based on a book written by Shakuntala Devi’s daughter Anupama Banerji, and focuses on the tough childhood she had due to constantly travelling with her mother in her world tours and growing up without access to her father. I liked the way the story gets unravelled with the first scene were Anupama files a criminal complaint in the courts of London against her mother. From there comes the flashback – the early childhood of Ms Devi, to how her talent got discovered, to being recognized around the world for her mathematical brilliance. In the second half, it was about Ms Devi’s anger towards her parents and a wave of similar anger shown by her daughter towards her – both of which happen due to parents imposing their aspirations and will on their child.
In the scene where the young Ms Devi and her elder sister makes a promise between them, by holding their throat and saying “vidya kee kasam” was cute. Jisshu Sengupta who comes as Paritosh Banerji (husband of Shakuntala) and Sanya Malhotra as Anupama Banerji (daughter of Shakuntala) have done their respective roles well. A good movie to begin the month, enjoy.
Footnote: If you are curious to see the “real” Shakuntala Devi showing off her talents, then check this video recording done for a Canadian Television channel, hosted by Dr Shan Chandrasekar and quizzed by Roger Allen, HOD Maths of Upper Canada College. Thanks, Badri Seshadri for sharing the link and with your analysis of the show.