Shakuntala Devi trailer: Human computer Shakuntala Devi is struggling to solve the mother-daughter equation

Vidya Balan and Sanya Malhotra are locked in a ‘calculative’ mother v/s daughter battle in this biopic on India’s human calculator

By Anannya Srusti

Vidya Balan and Sanya Malhotra in Shakuntala Devi [2020]

With the trailer of Vidya Balan-starrer Shakuntala Devi [2020] being released, the audience can expect yet another power-packed performance by the ‘Kahaani’ [2012]  actress. The film is a biopic on the late mental calculator and author Shakuntala Devi (1929-2013). Devi’s  mathematical prowess without using the calculator earned her the nickname of ‘human computer’.

With a confident approach towards life and a hint of sarcasm in her word, Vidya Balan as Shakuntala Devi can be seen solving even the most difficult equations without breaking a sweat in the nearly 3-minute trailer. 

The trailer sheds light on her personal life and her love for mathematics, mental calculations.  Like many traditional Indian households, most women have a challenge to balance their professional and personal life.  The second half of the trailer speaks of the strained relationship between the mother and her daughter Anupama [Sanya Malhotra).   It is not clear at which stage of her life it happened, but the daughter is pissed off that her mother wasn’t there to look after her for a period of ten years.  The young girl holds that against her mother.  Anupama is further incensed that the mother has used her power of attorney to sell off properties that belonged to her. 

A disgruntled daughter asks Shakuntala Devi why didn’t she choose to be a normal mother? “Jab amazing ho sakti hun, tab normal kyun banu main?” (Why should I be normal when I can be amazing?). This repartee by Shakuntala Devi sets the tone for a calculative  mother v/s daughter battle. 

While Shakuntala Devi didn’t give ten years of her life for her family, but as seen in the trailer, the latter did give up her mathematics career.  

The grey shade to the otherwise easy-going, goody two shoes mathematical genius might make the viewers ponder on the point that a being a genius also comes with a few flaws. Well, no one is perfect. Along with Vidya Balan and Sanya Malhotra playing the mother-daughter duo, the trailer also shows Bengali actor/producer Jisshu Sengupta playing the character of Shakuntala Devi’s husband Paritosh Banerji. The trailer doesn’t give much on the man, but there is more to Banerji than it meets the eye. Actor Amit Sadh is said to be playing Anupama’s husband. Perhaps, Sadh’s character could be one who is exploiting the mother-daughter strained relationship. Talented artiste Prakash Belawadi is playing Shakuntala Devi’s father. We presume it may be a cameo role, but Belawadi is always great to watch.

Vidya brings her typical energy, enthusiasm to this genius character.  The hairdo might be a little off the mark, but Malhotra looks to have discovered a feisty side to her through this character.  “That’s dramatic,” a white man tells Shakuntala Devi, “We Indians are like that only,” says Devi in her Kannada tone. Ironically, though it is the white men who appear guilty of melodrama in the trailer. 

All in all, here is is unique, calculative story and the gripping, entertaining trailer makes Shakuntala Devi an interesting film to watch out for.

Directed by Anu Menon and produced by Sony Pictures Networks India and Abundantia Entertainment, Shakuntala Devi is set to be released on 31 July on Amazon Prime Video. 

Watch the highly entertaining trailer of Shakuntala Devi below. 

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