SHANKUNTALA DEVI REVIEW
Director: Anu Menon
Starring: Vidya Balan, Sanya Malhotra, Jishu Sengupta, Amit Sadh
Written By: Anu Menon & Nayanika Mahtani
Streaming On: Amazon Prime Video
SHAKUNTALA DEVI is a biopic about a Mathematician genius lady which made herself and India proud. A story of her journey which reveals the highs of Shakuntala Devi as a mathematician genius that made her a popular name world over for solving the most difficult maths problems to the lows and the complexity of her personal life as a daughter, wife and mother.
The film starts off in 1934 where we see Shakuntala a five year old girl solving her much elder brother’s math problem which astonishes everyone in her family, soon her father uses her genius as a tool to earn money by taking her to various schools and shows where she solves maths problems and earns money for the family rather studying in a school, her father’s attitude towards her and her mother’s silence to all this makes her hate her own mother, a grownup Shakuntala runs away from the family to London to make a living for herself and thus starts the journey of a girl in becoming a world famous Mathematician Genius also known as the Human Computer.
The first hour of the film is funny and joyful while as the movie progress it starts to pick up as we are now introduced to the personal side of the life a messy daughter and mother relationship. At the start of the film itself we are told that the film is a true story as seen through the eyes of a Daughter and it’s fitting that the story becomes more serious as we explore Shakuntal Devi (Vidya Balan) and her daughter Anupama Banerjee’s (Sanya Malhotra) complex mother daughter relationship.
Technically the film is very good, cinematography done by Keiko Nakahara is good, and editing by Antara Lahiri is crisp and precise. Production value is good, the locations of 60 and 70 looks very real and art direction too is top notch.
Performances wise Vidya Balan just proves that why she is one of the gems of Indian film industry, just like how Shakuntal Devi ji was a mathematician genius, Vidya Balan is an acting genius. She is just brilliant in every frame seen is in. Sanya Malhotra also leaves her mark in the film; she too dons both the avatars of a teen and then a strong independent adult very gracefully. The supporting cast which includes Jisshu Sengupta (as Shakuntala’s husband Paritosh Banerjee) and Amit Sadh as (Anupama Banerjee’s husband) plays their part well.
Director Anu Menon does a nice job in bringing light to this incredible story of an Indian, a Mathematician genius Shakuntala Devi which made India proud.
On the whole, the film gets many things right like the setting, mood, performances but one of the things though that’s slight missing was focusing more on the method through which she Shakuntala Devi used to calculate the sums.