Shakuntala Devi Review: A half decent tale of mathematics, money and motherhood!

Siddarth Srinivas -

Shakuntala Devi Review: A half decent tale of mathematics, money and motherhood!

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Format:   Original Movie
Platform:   Amazon Prime Video
Movie Rated:   13+
Genre:   Biopic
Language:   Hindi
Digital Premiere Date:  31 August 2020

 

Vidya Balan starrer Shakuntala Devi is one of the big films to opt for a direct OTT release owing to the Coronavirus pandemic, arriving on Amazon Prime for the big Eid weekend. The film is directed by Anu Menon.
 

What’s the story about?
Shakuntala Devi tells us the story of one of India’s greatest mathematicians, known for finding a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as she solved a mathematical problem faster than a computer. The film starts off as we get introduced to Shakuntala’s daughter Anu, who has filed a case on her own mother. The story then jumps back and forth, in and out of various timelines to tell us the rags-to-riches story of Shakuntala Devi, and the problems that she ran into because of her gifted ability with numbers.
 


 

Analysis
The first forty minutes of Shakuntala Devi is nothing less than awesome sauce. The film takes off in sublime fashion with the fascinating childhood stories of Shakuntala Devi, and her love for mathematics. The initial journey is packed with moments that will definitely bring a smile to your face, as Anu Menon brings it to our attention in a fuzzy and colorful manner. It is only in the second half of the film that the pace dips, as the events turn too dramatic and emotional for the viewer to handle. There are far too many scenes that concentrate on the in-house drama of Shakuntala Devi and her daughter, which drives away the excitement that the film successfully carried in the first half. 
 

Performances
Once again, it is a Vidya Balan show all the way. The actress is excellent in portraying the role of the mathematician, with great attention to how she carries out the body language, stares and smirks. It is a treat to watch her don the role with consummate ease. Next in line is Sanya Malhotra, who does seem a little conscious in few scenes but mostly holds it together. Amit Sadh is impressive once again in a role that demands little of him, but the rest of the cast do not contribute anything to the totality of the film.

Music and other departments
Sachin-Jigar does a very good job of capturing the essence of the film and multiplying it through their music, which is mostly packed with melodious songs and grand BG scores. The visuals of the film are pretty good, but it is the editing that needed some better work, as the constantly shifting timelines become a menace after a point.
 

Highlights
The performances of Vidya Balan and Sanya Malhotra are the big takeaways.
 

Drawbacks
The film’s melodramatic second half lags a lot, and should have been trimmed to arrive at a cleaner end product.

Did I enjoy it?
I would not say entirely, but only in parts.

Do I recommend it?
If you do wish to see Vidya Balan ruling the roost in yet another tailor-made role, Shakuntala Devi is for you. Otherwise, nothing more than a timepass watch with a good first half and a sluggish second.

 

 

Synopsis : This is a Biopic on Shakuntala Devi, who was also known as the "human computer".
Cast : Vidya Balan, Jisshu Sengupta, Sanya Malhotra, Amit Sadh, Spandan Chaturvedi & others
Directors : Anu Menon, Vikram Malhotra, Sachin-Jigar, Tanishk Bagchi, Sudeep Chatterjee, Abundantia Entertainment, Sony Pictures Networks India
Producer/s : Vikram Malhotra
Cinematographer (DoP) : Sudeep Chatterjee
Production House : Abundantia Entertainment, Sony Pictures Networks India
Music : Sachin-Jigar, Tanishk Bagchi

Movie Duration (minutes) : 127
Digital Premiere Date : July 31, 2020

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