SHAKUNTALA DEVI – Review by Mythily Ramachandran (Guest Post)

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Narrated through the eyes of a daughter, director Anu Menon takes us on a journey that begins in Bangalore in 1934 where the little Shakuntala astounds her cousin with her mathematics acumen. The child prodigy becomes a money spinning machine for her family much against her wishes. When her elder sister Sharda- an invalid- dies for not receiving medical care, Shakuntala holds her parents responsible for Sharda’s death. Her resentment and anger towards them is fueled further.

Filmmaker Anu Menon explores an emotional story while tracing Shakuntala Devi’s (played by Vidya Balan) life revealing little known aspects of this number crunching genius. This mathematics wizard’s life is made up of many interesting moments. Independent and daring Devi lived life on her terms with a never say die attitude.

After firing a shot at her lover she leaves India and arrives in London in 1955 to make a new beginning in an era when Indian women seldom traveled alone. Her self-confidence is inspiring. In an alien country Devi with a smattering of English was determined to make a living out of mathematics shows. She visited institutions with her idea and despite rejections she walked into the building of the Royal Society of Mathematics to astonish a gathering of people with her command over numbers. Continue reading on THE FEMALE GAZE.

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and About.com. She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is also a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).