Shakuntala Devi, the film is an accolade to the world famous mathematician, a child prodigy without any formal education, a number cruncher, an author, an astrologer, an aspiring member of parliament.
Anu Menon, the director in this biopic, aims to discover the woman who doesn’t exist in books or cultures through the narrative of mother and daughter relationship.
Shakuntala Devi, a mental calculator, for her, independence is not only restricted to woman’s financial freedom. She did not only build her life but lived it too fulfillingly.
She preferred to be a nomad than being a tree confining her to one role of traditional woman. She preferred to have wings than to have roots. That’s why she walked away from her marriage as it was hindering her personal growth. She travelled the world, earned great fortune.
Shakuntala Devi, who was born to a traditional Indian mother who never spoke up in the presence of her father. She never had her own voice. For that, she never wished to see herself in her image.
But Shakuntala Devi’s daughter, Anu Banerjee played by Sanya Malhotra remained angry all her life with her mother ( Shakuntala Devi ) because she was contrary to that traditional normal image. She was not full time mother. Her professional preferences preceded her motherhood.
However, when daughter becomes the mother and finds herself succumbing to the same predicament as her mother faced, she realises, ” No mother is perfect. Each mother has different challenges but her love for her children is just so deep and incomparable.
The story portrays the conflict between the idea women have of themselves and the idea that society imposes on them of what being a woman is.
It teaches that pursuing a career, choosing a life which makes one happy is not always for economic sustainability rather it is like a spiritual discourse which brings the inner growth. It is necessary for a woman also to assert her individuality as human being.
In the last scene, while receiving a lifetime achievement award Shakuntala Devi says, ” Every mother hopes that her daughter not only see her as mother but as a genius also.”
She brings out the broader picture of a woman who is more of a mother and a wife. Compressing her whole life in to one image is just so irrational.
The veteran actor, Vidya Balan was just phenomenal in the film. She was spunky, audacious and buoyant as the real Shakuntala Devi. Noone could be better than her. Certainly she has reached the stage where roles choose her. She is just born to play.
The other supporting cast, Amit Sadh, Jissu Sengupta, Sanya Malhotra did justice to their roles and made a impactive presence on the screen. With the meaningful and heartfelt music, the movie is worth watching.
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