Shakuntala Devi (film)

Shakuntala Devi is a 2020 Indian Hindi-language biographical drama film tracing the life of mathematician Shakuntala Devi, who was also known as the "human computer".[3] It is written and directed by Anu Menon and produced by Sony Pictures Networks India, Abundantia Entertainment and Genius Films.[4] The film stars Vidya Balan in a titular role as Shakuntala Devi, along with Sanya Malhotra, Amit Sadh and Jisshu Sengupta in supporting roles while child artist Spandan Chaturvedi in her film debut gives a cameo appearance as young Shakuntala.[5]

Shakuntala Devi
Shakuntala Devi Film.jpg
Poster
Directed byAnu Menon
Written byDialogues:
Ishita Moitra
Screenplay byAnu Menon
Nayanika Mahtani
Based onShakuntala Devi
Produced bySony Pictures Releasing
Sony Pictures Networks India
Vikram Malhotra
StarringVidya Balan
Jisshu Sengupta
Sanya Malhotra
Amit Sadh
CinematographyKeiko Nakahara
Edited byAntara Lahiri
Music byScore:
Karan Kulkarni
Songs:
Sachin–Jigar
Production
companies
Distributed byAmazon Prime Video
Release date
  • 31 July 2020 (2020-07-31)[1]
Running time
127 minutes[2]
CountryIndia
LanguageHindi

Principal photography took place from September 2019 to November 2019.[6] Originally planned for cinema release in May 2020, it was delayed owing to Coronavirus pandemic in India.[1] Later, the film was directly streamed on Amazon Prime Video online on 31 July 2020 coinciding with Eid-ul-Adha.[7] Actress Vidya Balan was also nominated for the 2021 Filmfare Award for Best Actress.

PlotEdit

In 2001, Anupama Banerjee arrives in London with her husband Ajay, and reveals that she is suing her mother, Shakuntala Devi.

The film shifts to Shakuntala Devi's childhood in Bengaluru in the 1930s, where her family discovers her incredible talent for quickly solving complex mathematical problems in her head. Her father, Bishaw, decides to use Shakuntala's talent and have her do "math shows," where she would entertain people with her problem solving prowess. Shakuntala continues to do math shows and earn for the family as she grows up, but blames her father for not letting her live a normal childhood. She also blames her mother for not standing up to him, especially in the wake of her sister's death. In 1954, she leaves for London after a violent altercation with her boyfriend, Dhiraj, after she learns that he had been pretending to love her even though he had a marriage fixed and even the invites printed out.

In London, Shakuntala lives with Tarabai in her home with three other Indian men, but struggles to find opportunities for her shows. But, she eventually manages to impress Javier, a Spanish mathematician when she shows off her skills at the Royal Mathematical Society in London. He helps improve Shakuntala's English and helps her get shows, and the pair begin a relationship as well. Shakuntala's popularity rapidly grows, and is given the nickname "The Human Computer" after she proves a computer wrong on a TV show. She expands her global influence by performing in other countries, and becomes a worldwide celebrity. Amidst all of this, Javier ends his relationship with Shakuntala, stating that he needs to return to Spain.

In 1968, Shakuntala meets Paritosh Banerji in Mumbai, and the two quickly fall in love. The couple eventually get married and settle in Kolkata, with the aspirations of starting a family. In 1970, Shakuntala gives birth to Anupama, nicknamed Anu, and devotes her life to being a mother. However, she realizes how much she misses doing shows and decides to resume her career, leaving Anu with Paritosh. Shakuntala continues to amaze people, and even makes it into The Guinness Book of Records, but she worries about being an uncaring mother. Ultimately, she decides to take Anu with her on her travels, much to Paritosh's dismay. They soon divorce.

While growing up, Anu travels around the world with her mother. As Shakuntala is constantly exploring new career avenues, Anu finds herself constantly ignored and disenchanted with her life. Even after enrolling Anu in a boarding school, Shakuntala uses every opportunity she can to have Anu accompany her. This reaches a breaking point when a teenage Anu lashes out at her mother for building her career at the expense of her childhood. In response, Shakuntala takes a break and settles with Anu in London, even supporting her business aspirations. This helps the two become close. Their relationship sours again when an adult Anu decides to marry Ajay Abhaya Kumar, a businessman. Shakuntala informs Ajay of her expectation of him moving with them to London, despite him being settled in Bengaluru. Anu accuses her mother of constantly holding her back and not letting her live her own life. Shakuntala, unwilling to let her daughter go, threatens to shut down Anu's business. Anu cuts off all contact with Shakuntala, and marries Ajay. She decides to not have children, fearing that she won't be a good mother. Despite this, Anu gives birth to a daughter, Amritha.

Anu and Ajay receive a shock when they are informed that Shakuntala used her power of attorney to sell Anu's business properties, while giving her zero percent of the profit share. Furthermore, she passed the payment of the capital gains tax on to Anu, leaving her family in massive debt. Anu and Ajay decide to take legal action against Shakuntala, and travel to London for the proceedings. Upon their arrival, they discover that Shakuntala's actions were a stunt, done so she could force her daughter to come see her. Shakuntala gives Anu the profit received from the sale of her properties, and asks for her forgiveness. Anu forgives her mother, and the two have an emotional reunion.

CastEdit

  • Vidya Balan as Shakuntala Devi: Paritosh's former wife; Anupama's mother and Amritha's grandmother
  • Jisshu Sengupta as Paritosh Banerjee: Shakuntala's former husband; Anupama's father and Amritha's grandfather[8]
  • Sanya Malhotra as Anupama Banerjee: Shakuntala and Paritosh's daughter; Ajay's wife and Amritha's mother.[9]
    • Chahat Tewani as young Anupama
  • Amit Sadh as Ajay Abhaya Kumar: Anupama's husband and Amritha's father.[10]
  • Prakash Belawadi as Bishaw Mitra Mani: Shakuntala's father[11]
  • Nisha Aaliya as Bookshop Interviewer,[11]
  • Sheeba Chaddha as Tarabai, Shakuntala's landlady in London
  • Vidyuth Gargi as Mohan Manhas, show host
  • Ipshita Chakraborty Singh as Shakuntala's mother
  • Jiya Shah as Sharada Devi, Shakuntala's sister
  • Renuka Sharma as Ajay's mother
  • Neil Bhoopalam as Dheeraj, Shakuntala's former boyfriend
  • Luca Calvani as Javier, Shakuntala's Spanish boyfriend based in London
  • Yo Yo Honey Singh as Salman
    • Naksh as Lil' Salman
  • Lan Bailey as Mediator
  • Ahan Nirbhan as Srinivas
  • Adi Chugh as Kartar
  • Philip Roy as Shakuntala's lawyer
  • Jack Francis as Anupama's lawyer
  • Santosh Banerjee as Gordhanbhai

ReleaseEdit

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the film was not released theatrically and streamed on Amazon Prime Video worldwide on 31 July 2020.[1] Vidya Balan expressed her delight on social media platforms regarding the release of the film on over-the-top media services.[12][13][14]

SoundtrackEdit

Shakuntala Devi
Soundtrack album by
Released21 July 2020[15]
Recorded2019
GenreFeature film soundtrack
Length11:35
LanguageHindi
LabelZee Music Company
Sachin–Jigar chronology
Angrezi Medium
(2020)
Shakuntala Devi
(2020)
Roohi
(2021)
External audio
  Official Audio Jukebox on YouTube

The film's music was composed by Sachin–Jigar while lyrics written by Vayu and Priya Saraiya.

Track listing
No.TitleLyricsSinger(s)Length
1."Pass Nahi Toh Fail Nahi"VayuSunidhi Chauhan2:31
2."Rani Hindustani"VayuSunidhi Chauhan2:24
3."Paheli"Priya SaraiyaShreya Ghoshal3:21
4."Jhilmil Piya"Priya SaraiyaBenny Dayal, Monali Thakur3:19
Total length:11:35

Critical receptionEdit

Sreeparna Sengupta of Times of India gave the film three and half stars out of five and said, "A joy to watch simply to soak in the fascinating life and times of the maths whiz - a human computer faster than an actual computer, the free-spirit, who was all that and so much more!"[16] Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express rated the movie 3/5, calling it "a Vidya Balan show".[17] Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV opined "the numbers add up nicely with a feisty Vidya Balan", giving the movie 3/5.[18] Mike McCahill of The Guardian gave it three stars out of five and said, "The movie finds funny ways of dramatising the process whereby one generation of women squares its frustrations with another – but it adds up to spirited, intelligent, authentically feminist entertainment."[19]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Shakuntala Devi release date out: Vidya Balan film to hit Amazon Prime on July 31". India Today. 2 July 2020. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  2. ^ "Shakuntala Devi (2020)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  3. ^ Taran Adarsh [@taran_adarsh] (12 December 2019). "Release date finalized: 31 July 2020... #VidyaBalan in and as #ShakuntalaDevi... Costars Sanya Malhotra and Jisshu Sengupta... Directed by Anu Menon... Produced by Sony Pictures Networks Productions and Abundantia Entertainment.t.co/DfRPk6ypQA" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  4. ^ "Shakuntala Devi: Vidya Balan transforms into maths genius as the film goes on floor today". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  5. ^ "'Shakuntala Devi' teaser: Vidya Balan gives us a glimpse into the extraordinary life of the mathematical genius". The Times of India. 16 September 2019.
  6. ^ "Shakuntala Devi (2020)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  7. ^ "Vidya Balan's film Shakuntala Devi gets a release date". Indian Express. 2 July 2020. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  8. ^ "Jisshu Sengupta to Play Vidya Balan's Husband in Shakuntala Devi Human Computer". CNN-News18. 11 November 2019. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  9. ^ Vasudevan, Aishwarya (22 September 2019). "'Shakuntala Devi': Makers rope in Sanya Malhotra to play Vidya Balan's onscreen daughter". Daily News and Analysis. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  10. ^ "Shakuntala Devi Human Computer: Amit Sadh joins Vidya Balan's film". India Today. 8 November 2019. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  11. ^ a b "'Kannada industry should've made film on Shakuntala Devi'". New Indian Express. 29 July 2020. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  12. ^ "Vidya Balan-starrer Shakuntala Devi to premiere on July 31 on Amazon Prime Video". Outlook India. 2 July 2020. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  13. ^ "Vidya Balan's Shakuntala Devi Full Movie Watch Online on Amazon Prime From 31 July". Moviespie. 9 July 2020. Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  14. ^ "Vidya Balan's Shakuntala Devi Movie Review & Rating". the hans india.
  15. ^ "Shakuntala Devi - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". Jiosaavn.
  16. ^ Sengupta, Sreeparna, "Shakuntala Devi Movie Review: Soak yourself in the fascinating life and times of Shakuntala Devi!", Times Of India, retrieved 1 August 2020
  17. ^ "Shakuntala Devi movie review and release: Fans hail Vidya Balan's performance". The Indian Express. 31 July 2020. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  18. ^ Chatterjee, Saibal (31 July 2020). "Shakuntala Devi Movie Review: The Numbers Add Up Nicely With A Feisty Vidya Balan". NDTV. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  19. ^ McCahill, Mike (30 July 2020). "Shakuntala Devi review – spirited biopic of a mathematical genius". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 1 August 2020.

External linksEdit