Vidya Balan won many awards and rewards for her acting chops in different roles. She doesn’t need an introduction to tell people how good she can be and was, in most of our favorite films like Lageraho Munnabhai, Parineeta, Dirty Picture and lot more. Now, she came up with Maths genius from India, Shakuntala Devi’s biopic in the direction of Anu Menon. What was the film all about? Was it any good? Let’s discuss about answers to these questions …
Plot: Film is based on the life of Mathematics genius and Guinness Book Record holder from India, Shakuntala Devi (Vidya Balan). Movie tries to tell the story of her childhood in India and how she hated being poor. She loved a glamour & glitz lifestyle while her husband (Jisshu Sengupta) and daughter, Anu (Sanya Malhotra) were not too pleased by it.
Shakuntala Devi tries to mend her relationship with her daughter and their struggle to cope up with each other and the acceptance that they two are different personalities, forms the rest of the story.
Performances: Vidya Balan was tremendous. She has an incredible ease in shifting gears from being chirpy to empty and from being lovely to sad. But her character needed more support from writing team as the film depends on the character and what makes the person beneath the exterior. Somehow, even Vidya couldn’t really bring out the person’s real character out except for playing the exterior personality pretty well.
Sanya Malhotra got a meaty role and a chance to really shine in the presence of talent like Jisshu Sengupta, Amit Sadh and Vidya Balan. But she came up with neither here nor there kind of a performance that doesn’t allow us to connect with her character. Jisshu Sengupta was criminally under used and Amit Sadh was good in the parts given to him. All others were fine.
Technicalities: Writing by Nayanika Mahatani along with Anu Menon and Ishita Moitra could have been way better. Movie shouldn’t hassle through when it tries to connect us with the real person, who Shakuntala Devi was. You get it that she loved the fame and had a great laughter but film gets repetitive after a point and until the daughter is introduced into the mix, you find yourself in a place where you have to complete the film because you’ve started it. Movie could have been better with writers not rushing through childhood and young-adult life of Shakuntala Devi, as if they were in a race.
Sachin-Jigar did a fine job with music. None of the tunes stick in your head but they gave what the script demanded from them. Cinematography is good and editing was not as smooth as you expect a biopic to have. Issues with pacing should have been addressed on the editing table. Anu Menon’s direction was also uneven and she looses the grip on narration quite too often. Still, performances save the day, for her.
Analysis: Shakuntala Devi movie glosses over the parts that really makes the movie stick in your memory. It keeps revolving around what a fun loving woman she was and what kind of life, she thinks is “normal”. One look at the trailer, you can tell what the movie is all about and that is the major problem. Vidya Balan as an actress has lot more to offer than just laugh hysterically and the movie could have done better with the relationships that shape Shakuntala Devi than just the one with her daughter which kinda gets dragged out. On the whole, movie is not unbearable but when it aims for greatness, it should have provided itself with legs and wings to achieve it, too. It just flies where it should crawl and crawls where it should fly.
Bottomline: Says a lot but not well!
Available on Amazon Prime Video