'Shakuntala Devi' movie review: A huge disappointment

'Shakuntala Devi' movie review: Vidya Balan starrer is a massive disappointment

'Shakuntala Devi' features Vidya Balan in the lead. Credit: PR Handout

Cast: Vidya Balan, Sanya Malhotra, Amit Sadh and Jisshu Sengupta

Director: Anu Menon

Rating: 1.5/5

Language: Hindi

The eagerly-awaited Vidya Balan starrer Shakuntala Devi, which released on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, is a half-baked attempt at storytelling that fails to do justice to the legend of the 'Human Computer'. The film revolves around the personal and professional struggles of the titular character, highlighting the way in which her love for mathematics affected her relationship with her daughter. The basic storyline is interesting and has enough masala to keep the audience hooked. The film, however, fails to make an impact due to its weak execution. 

The screenplay lacks depth and fails to hit the right notes, making it difficult for the viewer to care about what's happening. Moreover, the non-linear structure does not help matters at all. The initial portions of Shakuntala Devi are predictable and don't really add anything to the viewing experience. The bond between Vidya Balan and Jisshu Sengupta has not been fleshed out properly and has a bare-bones feel to it. Similarly, the sequences between the reel Shakuntala Devi and her daughter feel forced and lack organic intensity.

Shakuntala Devi superficially touches upon issues like feminism and women empowerment but they fail to salvage the movie. A few scenes here and there make an okayish impact but amount to nothing in the larger scheme of things. 

ALSO READ: It is the new normal: Jisshu Sengupta on 'Shakuntala Devi' not releasing in theatres

Coming to performances, Vidya is the heart and soul of Shakuntala Devi and does justice to a challenging role. She brings out the vulnerability of her character, proving that she is a 'Lady Superstar' in her own right. 

Jisshu is a terrific actor and tries to add life to an otherwise generic character. Amit Sadh is underutilised and gets virtually no scope to showcase his abilities. The Kai Po Che actor deserved a meatier role. Sanya Malhotra also does not have much to do in Shakuntala Devi. While the Dangal actress tries to elevate the emotional scenes with her sincere performance, she is let down by the insipid writing.

The supporting cast is all right. 

The songs have situational appeal with Rani Hindustani being the pick of the lot. The background music is decent and adds a new dimension to a few scenes. The editing is above-average as the film does not drag too much. The other technical aspects have been handled with a fair degree of competence.

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