It Wasn’t Easy Opening up About my Mother’s Life for a Biopic: Shakuntala Devi’s Daughter Anupama Banerji


Vidya Balan with Anupama Banerji.

Vidya Balan with Anupama Banerji.

Shakuntala Devi’s Daughter Anupama opens up about narrating her mom’s existence tale to director Anu Menon for the Vidya Balan-starrer biopic.

  • Last Updated: July 30, 2020, 11:58 AM IST

The making of Shakuntala Devi’s biopic began with a dialog between her daughter Anupama Banerji and director Anu Menon in a café in London 4 years in the past. It was once 3 years after the loss of life of the mathematics genius, and Anupama was once nonetheless recuperating from the ache of dropping her mom, when she needed to relive her existence in every single place once more.

“We met in 2016, about three years after mummy had passed away, and it was a struggle. The pain was immense, and we were trying to get on with our lives but it wasn’t easy for the family. It wasn’t easy to talk about her life. This was reality, we weren’t trying to portray somebody’s life who was perfect. She had struggled. She came up the hard way and wanted to conquer the world,” Anupama tells us.

Looking at her simply as a genius mathematician was once simply scratching the outside. The movie seeks to seize quite a lot of aspects of her persona, from her dating together with her daughter to her revolutionary perspectives within the ’70s.

“She was larger than life. There was so much to bring in. She had so many varied interests, like she wrote a book on cookery for men specifically. This was in the ’70s, when things were different. She was very, very progressive and all that needed to be brought out. The book on homosexuality was probably the first. It was pioneering. No one had ever written a book like that,” Anupama says.

Though it wasn’t simple for her to discuss her mom’s existence, Anupama made up our minds to relate it adore it was once, and let director Anu Menon and her co-writer Nayanika translate it on display the best way they sought after to.

“We just told them everything like it was and how it was, you know, and I’m so glad that they were able to capture and actually understand, because it really wasn’t a normal scenario. It was very different and they seemed to just understand and were able to bring it out,” she provides.

Vidya Balan was once the most obvious selection for the function of Shakuntala Devi. Anu Menon says that Anupama and her circle of relatives isn’t very acquainted with Bollywood, however they knew about Vidya.

“The one actress that they really loved and respected was Vidya, she was Anupama’s father’s favourite actress as well. You can see how similar they are in the way they approach life and their energy. I just felt like she was the only one who could capture the essence of Shakuntala Devi,” the director stocks.

Maths isn’t a very visually interesting topic. But Shakuntala Devi made it appear attention-grabbing, and that’s how the makers have attempted to seize it on display.

“We found ways of capturing it cinematically. The idea was to make people experience maths the way she experienced it, how it was joyous for her. We’ve seen films on Ramanujan and Einstein and how they sit in a room with heads full of equations. She was not like that. She was not angsty about maths. It was like her best friend. We have shown it in such a way that even if you are scared of maths you will understand it,” Anu says.

Watching the movie after it was once made was once an amazing revel in for Anupama and her circle of relatives.

Anupama narrates, “After we watched it, for a while, we just didn’t say anything. It was amazing. A very real situation that we had described to them was portrayed in the most graceful manner. There was that bit of worry, ‘Oh my God, how’s it going to come across?’ But it just came across beautifully. And everything was amazing. We were so happy with the end result. It was really a surreal experience.”

Shakuntala Devi, starring Vidya Balan and Sanya Malhotra, will premiere on Amazon Prime Video on July 31.



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