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The very frothy trailer of Shakuntala Devi, the much hyped biopic of the woman who was called a ‘human computer’ is interesting, to say the least. Quite ‘filmi’!
To swear by the cheesy lingo/ dialogues of India cinema, as the actor Vidya Balan who essays the role of this human genius in her biopic, declares, “for us either it’s drama or nothing!” Shakuntala Devi- naam toh suna hi hoga.(You must have heard the name).
And for those who haven’t, all the more reason to watch this movie which intrigues at every level.
The movie depicts the life story of Shakuntala Devi- a child prodigy in maths from a remote place in India, to earning the title of Human Computer.
Though some might claim her prowess as depicted in the movie to be exaggerated, the fact remains that she humoured everyone by performing complex multiplication/ division calculations at rocket speed akin to that of computers.
Intrigue or exaggeration- the reasons to watch the movie could be any, but for me personally it would the confidence, the courage, and the belief the lady- the widely acclaimed Maths Genius held in herself.
And right from the beginning, the trailer promises enough of every element to keep us glued to our seats. The film seems to be a thorough mix of wit, humour, sarcasm: in short a perfect popcorn feast.
But before the trailer was out the actor Vidya Balan took her viewers to task by asking them to do a calculation to know the time of the release of the trailer.
Later she again posted a picture asking the audience to perform a not-so-easy calculation to get the exclusive preview of the trailer before its official launch on the social media platform.
Now that is quite the way to pay obeisance to the late Maths prodigy whose life was all about numbers and puzzles.
As the trailer opens the character asks the viewers if they would want to meet her best friend- MATHS which to her mind was not a set of rules but sheer MAGIC.
Yes, adding thrill to the already over-the-top display is when the character asks the audience whether they would wish to know the answer of the calculations she has performed mentally from ‘right to left’ or ‘left to right.’
As if that matters anymore than the fact that she calculated it orally at rocket speed. From “How did she do it?” to “Did she actually do it or is it just a staged performance, exaggerated to create thrill and drama?” No. It’s not just reel drama. Every moment was real.
Talking about the film Vidya has said, “Stepping into the world of Shakuntala Devi was intimidating as it was exhilarating. Her story is inspirational and makes you see how if we believe in ourselves, the world is our oyster. A direct release on Prime Video will bring Shakuntala Devi one step closer to the audiences across the globe where they can watch the movie at their convenience.”
Apart from her professional journey, the movie gives glimpses of her personal life and the relationship with her daughter, which thanks to her mathematical prowess is not smooth and steady. Not being too judgemental on that aspect, as of course each one of us as parents have had a fall-out with our children at some point, so if she too had it, what’s so much to buzz about?
In her own words, when the character claims, “why should I behave normal, when I can be amazing?” in reply to her daughter’s demand of behaving like a routine parent, understand that the world of maths and numbers and puzzles was not just her passion, but her only true love as well.
She was a genius, no doubt about it. And we could see it in the surprised faces of the audience when they see a girl in chottis (plaits) performing calculations.
Here the real emphasis on ‘girl’ or ‘her appearance’ is for the movie to depict, but yes through the trailer we understand that her father realised her virtuoso when he sarcastically says, “what will you learn at school, instead you could teach the school.”
But real fascination for me will be to see how she fought the usual evils as laid for girls of not speaking too much, getting married at the right age and having children and sacrificing her aspirations to raise children and rise above all to achieve what she desired.
On one hand the trailer tempts the viewers to know more about the person, on the other hand, it engages our attention towards her role as a mother sharing a not so pleasant relationship with her daughter.
For once, let’s keep aside all judgements reserved for Indian women. Let’s for once celebrate and watch the movie for the the genius that was Shakuntala Devi.
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Writing started on an impulse as a means to vent out emotional distress. Now it
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