I feel a more apt title would be ‘Hardy and Ramanujan’. The movie is about ‘ What happens in Cambridge university’, rather than ‘ in Ramanujan’s life’. Ramanujan was an orthodox Iyengar from Kumbakonam. Chubby, smallpox marked face and never perhaps wore a ‘lungi’ in his life let alone a ‘pancha kachcham’ lungi. Robert Kanigel spent time in Erode, Kumbakonam, Namagiri and understood their importance in shaping Ramanujan’s life. His book brings out the quintessential Ramanujan. The movie is in a hurry to get Ramanjun to England and then tell us what happened there.
Casting Dev Patel in the lead role is perhaps more for the western audience and to get around the fact that a native Indian hero cast is not going to turn the till at the box office. I often wonder, with a flourishing movie industry in Tamil Nadu, why they can never find a typical Brahmin girl to play a typical Brahmin girl in any movie. Mind you Devika Bhise looks stunning and does a creditable job.
Jeremy Irons is brilliant. Perhaps, in my view, the movie lacks an honest true depiction of the great man. The movie opts to lean on emotions and music and caters to selected audience hoping for box office returns. But then, I am not the one investing my money. My point is if you are making a movie about a real time hero he needs to be real. Hopefully there will be in the future a true life story with Ramanujan as the centre piece. If you have not read the book please do and let me know what do you think.