Shakuntala Devi Movie Review: Much more than just a biopic

Cast: Vidya Balan, Sanya Malhotra, Jisshu Sengupta, Amit Sadh

Director: Anu Menon


Streaming on: Amazon Prime

Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)

Known as the ‘Human Computer’, Shakuntala Devi was able to reach to heights and live a life on her own terms. This inspiring woman, played by Vidya Balan is the one around whom the story of the movie revolves. But, to clear out, Shakuntala Devi is much more than just a biopic.

Born and brought up in Bangalore, Shakuntala Devi belonged to a poor family where her father (Prakash Belawadi) was a school teacher and used to take her for maths shows but never really sent her to school to study.  Her mother was also a simple and docile lady who never stood up against her husband. Growing in a family which never understood her, Shakuntala Devi decided to make her own path with her talent in maths.

To make a career, she went to London and finally was able to get recognized as the fastest mathematician and was given the name of ‘Human Computer’. During this course, she had to face mockery when people said how can a lady in saree and pigtails, solve sums on stage. But, she showed them all how capable she was.

Apart from Shakuntala Devi’s achievements, the movie also depicts her not so smooth bond with her daughter Anupama Banerjee played by Sanya Malhotra. Shakuntala and Anupama couldn’t come to terms with each other because of the difference in their ambitions. Anupama wanted a normal life whereas Shakuntala wanted an extraordinary one. The movie takes us on a rollercoaster ride of the bond of a mother and daughter.

From the directorial point of view, Anu Menon did a great job. The setting of the movie was finely portrayed. The movie gives out some exceptional dialogues which fits into the minds of the viewers. One of the most inspiring dialogues is by Vidhya Balan, when she, as Shakuntala Devi says, “Why should I be normal when I can be amazing” . The movie is a perfect mixture of humor and emotions.

Apart from Vidya Balan, who is ofcourse an excellent actor and perfectly got into the skin of the character, Sanya Malhotra also did a phenomenal job. Amit Sadh and Jisshu Sengupta also played significant roles in the movie.

In the 2hour 7 mins movie there were a lot of transitions between the years which could have been a little less confusing. Also, starting from the story of a maths wizard, the movie took a turn from the plot in the second half altogether. But, to the triumph of the team, the acting kept intact the attention of the audience.

Shakuntala Devi is a thorough entertaining film. Even the end credits hold something interesting. They start with a series of pictures from the personal album of Shakuntala Devi put together with the still frames taken from the movie. And, finally the movie ends with a happy song, Pass Nahi Toh Fail Nahi that completely blends with the spirit of the movie.