Shakuntala Devi Box Office Review: Star Cast: Vidya Balan, Sanya Malhotra, Jisshu Sengupta, Amit Sadh, Prakash Belawadi
Director: Anu Menon
Producer: Vikram Malhotra
Note: It has been more than 4 months since theaters have been closed all over the nation due to ongoing pandemic. No film has released at the Box Office in this time period so our Box Office Review will take into consideration lesser factors then we take in normal conditions.
Our Box Office Review in the current situation doesn’t imply the accuracy it does in normal circumstances because we have no clue about the release size Shakuntala Devi would’ve got if it had hit the cinemas on July 31.
A film’s Box Office fate also depends on the real performance of films releasing before and after it. In the ongoing situation, we can’t take into consideration that factor too and that’s why in the Box Office Review of Shakuntala Devi we will roughly predict its BO prospects and how much theatrical revenue the film may have lost because of not being able to hit the big screens.
Shakuntala Devi Box Office Review: Expectations
If we talk about the modern age of cinema, Vidya Balan brought the women-oriented films at the forefront with 2011 movie, The Dirty Picture. The film which provided ‘Entertainment, Entertainment & Entertainment’ to masses proved to be one of the biggest hits that year. After that, she gave a huge commercial hit with Sujoy Ghosh’s thriller Kahaani. This was the 2nd time she proved that women can lead and hit jackpot at the box office if they get the right project. Then her 2017 film Tumhari Sulu was also fairly successful.
So many women-oriented films in all these years have proved to be huge hits. New benchmarks have been set but no one can deny that it was Vidya who started it all.
As she comes back with Shakuntala Devi, a biopic of human-computer, the expectations are surely high. Biopics in India have mostly done extremely well because they sort of provide an inspiration to the audience. Someone working against all the odds to reach their goal makes the audience happy and gives them all the motivation they need. Most of the times, biopics also prove to be perfect films which families can watch together. That’s a major reason behind their success.
So, if we talk about motivation, who is better than Shakuntala Devi – The Human-Computer and world’s one of the best mathematicians to help? The trailer of Shakuntala Devi which released earlier set the expectations on a good note for the audience. There’s comedy, there’s drama and there’s motivation. A perfect combination for everyone to watch.
Shakuntala Devi Box Office Review: Impact
After watching the trailer of the film I had only one doubt which I mentioned in the trailer review as well. “I Hope The Makers Haven’t Taken Too Much Creative Liberty.” Sadly, that’s what they have done.
To start with, I found the director and co-writer Anu Menon pretty confused regarding the film especially its commercial aspects. It is a biopic so it needs to be honest to the story of the main character and also those who are closely related to her. But the final product that we see onscreen is pretty dishonest. A very strong subplot of the film (regarding Shakuntala Devi’s husband) has been a victim of heavy creative liberties. Those who know the story of Shakuntala Devi know that her husband was a homosexual who was also the inspiration behind her book “The World Of Homosexuals”. In the film, the writers have totally destroyed the fact and have said that he wasn’t really homosexual and Shakuntala Devi spread that lie to sell her book.
Now my question is, why would you do that? To make it more suitable for traditional Indian audience? If that was the case, why would the “traditional Indian audience” like their heroine or main character doing ill practices like these especially when it ain’t true? I think, one of the main factors which made the character of Shakuntala Devi in the film a bit unlikable was she faking her husband’s sexuality. It was disgusting more so when it’s not true. So why would you do that?
Now coming to other things. The film could’ve been more commercial and likeable if the writers just concentrated on the part of her being a genius mathematician. While the film is about Shakuntala Devi being a Human-Computer, around half of the film is about her personal life, her breakups, her husband and her daughter. I am not saying, these parts don’t make any sense but if you wanted to talk about them, you could’ve talked in a much better way.
I found it while researching that 3 years went down in “researching for the story” of Shakuntala Devi. Why research and contradict is what I am not able to understand.
Talking about the good things about the film, Vidya Balan gives another superior performance. She totally gets into the skin of her character. Be it her dialogue delivery or her expressions or her body language, everything is just so damn good. With her performance, she makes the film very much bearable. Sanya Malhotra is also good and looks beautiful onscreen. Jisshu Sengupta and Amit Sadh are fine too. I liked the dialogues of the film as well.
But overall, Shakuntala Devi movie fails to do justice to the real story. Neither it becomes a typical commercial film, nor a good biopic. Let alone a great combination of both.
Shakuntala Devi Box Office Review: Final Verdict
Overall, if Shakuntala Devi released at the box office and there was no pandemic going on, it could’ve done a business of just 25-30 crores. Thank God, it’s releasing just on OTT platforms otherwise so many exhibitors would’ve made losses.