Vidya Balan’s new movie Shakuntala Devi is streaming now on Amazon Prime and here some thoughts that I had while watching this fun-frolic and fully dramatic family film.
So I asked my mom to watch it with me the other night “arrey ek bahut acchi movie aayi hai, saath dekhte hai aao”
Literally the first scene: “Aaj mai woh karne jaa rahi hun jo kisi beti ne nahi kiya hoga, apni maa ke against criminal case.”
Me sitting next to mom:
Very early into the film, it has you hooked with this little genius, a fearless kid who can solve complicated arithmetic in a few secs and makes you feel like oos ki boondein.
Her brother (oh look he’s from yeh Hai Meri Family!) tells the family about her hidden talent and uncle being uncle, monetize it by making her do shows around the city instead of sending her to school (quick question: who’re these people going to watch live match shows? Ye kaunsa alag level ka thrill hai jo mujhe nahi pata?)
Her brother asks her how she does it and she nonchalantly says “aise hi naturally aajata hai” and vidya-kasam, I could not relate even one tiny little bit. Hume toh manually bhi nahi aata hai.
LOVED this exchange between Sharda and Shakuntala.
“Dekh lena ek din tu bahut bada aadmi banegi!” “Aadmi kyun?” “Badi aurat thodi kuch hota hai” “Ab toh mai badi aurat banungi! pur tu humesha mere saath rahegi”
Vidya kasam? Vidya kasam! <3
But she dies soon because her parents couldn’t pay for her treatment. And gradually, lil Shakuntala develop hate for parents and swears she’ll never be like them. And so she sets out to become a badi aurat for herself. And for her Sharda.
You see, that’s where the trouble began. Her laugh. Her goddamn infectious laugh. 🙂
Followed up with this dialogue – “Ek ladki jo apne mann ki sunti hai, dil khol ke hasti hai, mardo ke liye usse zyada darawna kya ho sakta hai?” dayumn, this film doesn’t hold back. A+ social commentary.
Puri movie mei she blurts out random numbers and teach “simple” math tricks, I literally had Ishaan Awasthi’s expression on my face – samjh nahi aaya par sunke bahut accha laga.
And upar se my mom kept asking me “iska kya matlab hua?” ‘Acha iska kya matlab hua?” I DON’T KNOW EITHER MUMMY. Agar itna samjh aata toh arts nahi li hoti 10th ke baad. Your beti is nalayak and has two brain cells, get on with times !
What starts as an exciting journey of a math genius – a human computer – making it big in the world, transitions into a family drama somewhere after The first half. It’s less about exploring her talent, more about the woman & her Rishton ka manjha (ah manjha, ah manjha, ah manjha. ok sorry)
The film majorly explores her relationship with her daughter who wants a normal life and a normal mother, which she so clearly isn’t. As she says, “jab amazing ho sakti hun toh normal kyun banungi?”
Aaj pata chala, mere lifestyle ko KPBB bolte hai. If you know, you know.
Also, how good is Shreya Ghoshal’s voice singing “Paheli”
Ok I’m gonna say this – I don’t think anybody could have pulled off this role better than Vidya Balan.
Matlab, if anybody else had tried to do The same, kaafi out of place & overacting lagti. But because Vidya Balan has that kind of a strong, bright personality. Confidence and sass of Shakuntala Devi just merges with her w naturally!
When she smiles, you smile. When she cries, you cry. When she does math, you cry still. ;-;
Here’s something I REALLY loved about the film. It doesn’t glorify Shakuntala Devi. How often do you see biopics that also show the other side of the coin?
As much as I enjoyed the mother-daughter focus in the second half & the theme that mothers are just as much humans with dreams and their own life but I really think they could have also explored so many other aspects of her life that were “touch and go” in the film. In closing, I think it’s a great watch with your family, but don’t go in with so much expectation!
Amit Sadh sums up the film when he says “Mothers & Daughters” with a happy sigh the end 🙂