A wonder woman whose mind spoke numbers faster than a computer, who earned her way to becoming a globally renowned mathematical scholar, and held a Guinness Book World Record by solving complex mathematical problems within seconds, Shakuntala Devi, a genius who thought and lived ahead of her times, and who ‘wanted it all’.
Vidya Balan starrer ‘Shakuntala Devi’ excellently depicts the life, professional achievements, and personal nuances of the legend. A fierce personality who perfectly drew the imperfections of the parallels of her intellectual mind and the emotional quotient of being a woman and a mother.
The movie looms over its audience and leaves them impacted by the strong sentimental aspects of the life of the Maths wizard. During the time when gender was perceived differently, Shakuntala Devi was flawed as she sought for much more from both, her personal and professional life.
Vidya Balan beautifully sketches the vibrant character of the woman who adorns her saree and plaits as much as she can dance to the tune of life laughingly, a lady who possesses a well-intentional sense of humor and can unapologetically say ‘I never lose’, or ‘My numbers never fail me’.
The picture impeccably portrays the roller-coaster ride of emotions between a mother and her daughter, and how naturally the duo slide through the odds of their journey to strike a balance and establish a bond with the passage of time. Some life lessons are best learned only with time! The self-discovery of emotions in both mother and daughter are seamlessly presented with the smooth interweaving of the past through the present. The scenes connect effortlessly keeping the audience engaged throughout.
Be it her fallout with her parents, grieving sense at the loss of her sister, dismayed relation with her husband, or the ever-evolving relation with her daughter, Shakuntala Devi learns to complete the loops of human emotions just as she loves the number ‘Zero’ which brings everything back to where it belongs.
The setup of places at various timelines is depicted fantastically and provides a fleeting glimpse of the various stages of Shakuntala Devi’s life. Whether it is her exasperated poverty-driven childhood in India or the early famed years in Bangalore, whether it is her breezy youthful days in the UK or the blissful days in Calcutta, Shakuntala Devi glides through the cross-continental lifestyle, all the while unflinchingly standing her ground and speaking up her mind.
None other than Vidya Balan could have brought out the essence of such vivacious and lively character of Shakuntala Devi so endearingly. The character of her daughter Anupama Banerji is well matched by Sanya Malhotra who shines brilliantly in her role. The characters of Jisshu Sengupta and Amit Sadh justify their stance of supporting these strong-willed women of their times.
The background score and sound design of the film stand out with the visually delightful colors of the screen, as do the effective dialogues that pace through the entire movie. The end credits displaying pictures from the personal family album alongside movie clips from those moments is simply heartwarming.
Just like the life of the legendary mathematician, the movie seems perfect with its imperfections. Why strive for normalcy in the biopic of a woman who never believed in ‘being normal’.
The picture lets you – pride in the lady who honored the country with her achievements, celebrate womanhood with the strength and depth of her character, rejoice in the imperfections of being a human, discover the changing relationship of a mother and daughter, and feel inspired to embrace happiness and live life to the fullest.
A must watch!