• S.K. Chishty

Trailer Review: 'Shakuntala Devi' trailer looks like a Vidya Balan showreel...

Updated: Aug 10, 2020

The film is based on the famous real life Mathematician.

It is telling how the filmmakers of this film are desperately insisting that this film is not about "Maths" and more about how she lived her life "to the fullest" (whatever that is).


A lot of people have pointed out that the tone of the whole thing does not feel "serious" as a bio-pic, perhaps, should.


Personally, I don't mind this. If a director has taken a lighter tone to depict a life it should not be out rightly rejected.


My gripe with the trailer is different.


The film, as per the trailer, seems to present Shakuntala Devi almost like a Goddess from the time she was a little kid. There is nothing to indicate an arc of her life, what she had to face as a child. We know by now what difficulties a prodigy faces adjusting to the society around them. The colorful visuals suggest that her life as a breeze. People were always falling at her feet in reverence, always giving her standing ovations. It is almost as if the film is aware of this shortcoming and relies on Vidya Balan to obfuscate them.


Even if one ignores the arguments about authenticity and realism, this does not make any sense even dramatically.


She does. But that becomes another shortcoming here.


It seems that Balan is still haunted by her character in The Dirty Picture, her breakout film. Or even the one in Tumhari Sulu. While in the first former, she played a B-Film queen reveling in sleaze and in the latter a housewife finding freedom in entertaining men on radio, the insouciance she displayed fitted the characters.


Here this sauciness looks misplaced. The makers obviously feel that this is the best Balan has to give as an actor. The trailer becomes a showreel of the actor rather than the film.


But still, the trailer saves the worst for its second half when there are broad, dramatic confrontations between the mother and the daughter. The daughter shrieks "You loved Maths more than me!" and the mother cries "I left Maths for you!". Trite.





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