BY SUMAIYA SHEIKH
Shakuntala Devi is a tale of an Indian girl who concord the world with her immense talent. The film starts in a village in Bangalore in 1934. We see five-year-old Shakuntala playing in front of her home and she solves a cube root of an eight-digit number. The film goes on and it unfolds the untouched pages of Shakuntala Devi’s life. How her father used her talent to earn money and since her mother never stood for herself and for her children made her so rebel.
The story of the film shows a different time zone parallel to her daughter, Anu’s story. How the life of Shakuntala Devi and her daughter is interconnected and how their relationship gets so worse that her daughter presses criminal charges against her mother is interesting to watch.
We must give credit to Anu Menon, Nayanika Mahtani for holding the audience with some thoughtful dialogues. Some dialogues even make you question the age old saying which is there in the society secretly, as she says ‘I will become ‘badi aurat’ and not ‘bada aadmi’’. Director of the film Anu Menon has successfully tried making Shukantala’s character strongest in the film. Every second something is happening on the screen, the film’s writing plays an important role in this. This is not the film where you can get up for popcorn in the middle of it because you will definitely get confused in another scene and wonder what’s happening.
Vidya Balan as Shakuntala Devi has no doubt pulled up the film on her own shoulders. Well, what I really feel was even if she tried adapting the South Indian accent, she didn’t drag it or stretched it like others do. It was a decent attempt which wasn’t impressive. However, this doesn’t make even a single scratch in her performance.
On the other hand Sanya Malhotra as Anupama Banerji & Shakuntala’s daughter did a decent job. Compared to her previous film Badhaai Ho, this wasn’t the best we were expecting.
Other than that, Jisshu Sengupta as Paritosh Banerji, Shakuntala’s husband, and Amit Sadh as Ajay Abhaya Kumar, Anupama’s husband, also made their presence in the film decent.
Director Anu Menon successfully fit the puzzles in the block before it was too late. Parts of the film are cheerful, bubbly while some parts are gray and serious. Anu made a decent balance between the two.
There are not too many songs in the film which thankfully made it real, unlike most biopics. Composed by Sachin–Jigar films music added the cherry on the top.
We must applaud the art direction of the film. As the film was running in parallel plots and years the technical department made it quite smooth. The timeline from 1934 to 2001 was shown beautifully on the screen.
The film was made for the big screen and the audience who actually wanted to go and watch Vidya Balan as Shakuntala Devi. But even if you are watching the film on your smartphones this film is worth it.
However, there are some flaws in the final product which can be ignored especially when you see such strong female characters on screen.
The time when there are very few films which you can enjoy with your whole family, Shakuntala Devi can make your weekend enjoyable with your loved ones.