REVIEW: SHAKUNTALA DEVI
Anu Menon’s previous directorial effort was five years back, when she directed Naseeruddin Shah and Kalki Koechlin in WAITING. A poignantly made movie about a friendship between two persons, whose spouses are in a comatose condition, this 100 minutes movie was a worth watching production. If you have missed seeing it, you can catch it on Hotstar. The BITS, Pilani alumnus, Anu won a couple of awards for her direction in WAITING. And she doesn’t let us down in the story telling of SHAKUNTALA DEVI.
But what helps Anu tremendously is the value brought to the movie by the excellence of Vidya Balan’s acting. Vidya Balan fits snugly in the character and makes it look as though it is easy to portray such a character.The movie doesn’t itself throw any light on how Shakuntala Devi managed to bring those answers to arithmetical (not mathematical) questions and hence the focus is just on incidents and how they help to build her personality and eccentricities. But the fact of the matter is , despite all research and psychological evaluations, there isn’t any clue on how she managed to find answers for those large arithmetical sums in a remarkably short time. Sanya Malhotra ( one of the two DANGAL girls) and Amit Sadh are reasonably adequate in the roles created for them. Jisshu Sengupta, who plays Shakuntala Devi’s husband has a very soft role, and I don’t know as to why the movie doesn’t delve much into his homosexuality ( as referred to in an article in India Today) and whether that was the trigger for her book on that subject.
There are many amongst us who do not know that there is a Japanese photographer, Keiko Nakahara, who is a much talked about person in Bollywood. Why she came to Bollywood is another story, but suffice it is to say that she has a neat job behind the camera in SHAKUNTALA DEVI, like she did in her earlier movie TANHAJI: THE UNSUNG WARRIOR. That makes her out to be the only person in 2020 who has the photography credit for two films till date!
There are three things in common between Shakuntala Devi and me: Both of us loved ( I still love!) the Dosas from Vidyarti Bhavan in Bangalore; both of us loved to travel ( I still do!) and I can multiply a two digit number ending in 5 by itself just as fast as she could!!!
RATING: 3.5 out of 5
August 3rd, 2020