With Shakuntala Devi directed by Anu Menon, a Biopic on the legendary maths genius, getting ready for a direct release on Amazon Prime Video, Pickle presents you 10 interesting things about the film
* The film stars Vidya Balan as Shakuntala Devi, who was also known as the ‘human computer’ along with Jisshu Sengupta, Sanya Malhotra and Amit Sadh. The Hindi biographical movie is directed and written by Anu Menon and produced by Sony Pictures Networks India and Vikram Malhotra under his banner Abundantia Entertainment.
* Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the film will not be released theatrically and will stream on Prime Video worldwide on 31 July 2020. It can be watched in 200 countries simultaneously and in 4000 towns of India. Vidya Balan expressed her delight on social media platforms regarding the release of the movie on the OTT platforms.
* Vidya too knew Shakuntala as an exemplary mathematician, but as she delved deeper into her life with director Anu Menon, she learnt that the academician defied every notion you have of a mathematical genius. According to the actress, Shakuntala was so full of life, had a wicked sense of humour. She was like a complex equation.
* Shakuntala Devi is being released amid the coronavirus pandemic. Theaters all over the country are still closed, but with Amazon Prime Video stepping in, the film is getting a digital release. Its result would be one of the factors that would decide the impact of OTT platforms and its future when it comes to streaming ‘big films’ directly.
* Shakuntala Devi was a mathematician, an astrologer, the writer of guides to arithmetic, a cookbook for men and a crime novel, the author of one of the earliest studies of homosexuality in India, an aspiring Member of Parliament. She was also very emotional and possessive, affectionate and loving and so much more rolled into one. Vidya Balan did a lot of homework to get things right.
* Shakuntala Devi was often called a ‘human computer’ and the world knew her as a genius who could solve complex equations in a few seconds. Anu Menon’s upcoming biopic, which stars Vidya Balan, aims to discover the heart that ticked inside the machine. Shakuntala Devi has been made in consultation with her daughter Anupama Banerji, who lives in London with her family.
* Shakuntala Devi was born on November 4, 1929. Her father was a trapeze artist and a magician. Shakuntala Devi gave her first professional performance at the age of six, in which she demonstrated her prodigious memory and ability to solve arithmetic problems with extraordinary speed.
* Director Anu Menon had grown up with reports of Shakuntala Devi’s mathematical genius. It started out with a stray comment by her daughter who was eight at the time. Menon’s quest became richer and deeper after she met Anupama Banerji and her husband, Ajay Abhaya Kumar, in London in 2016. The meeting lasted six hours and was equally moving for Banerji and Menon.
* Anu Menon’s research for the film included viewing clips of Shakuntala Devi performing calculations on television. In an undated programme filmed for the Canadian broadcast network ATN, the mathematician impresses a panel and the studio audience by coming up with answers nano-seconds after the questions have been asked. Wearing a sari and a big grin, Shakuntala Devi revels in her brilliance.
* Shakuntala used to perform Maths on stage. And there was a lot of joy involved in it. According to Anu Menon, they tried to capture as much as they could from the daughter’s perspective. She made Maths an art form. And, the film is aimed at paying a memorable tribute to the genius.
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