Ramanujan Movie Review

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Ramanujan is a biographical film based on the life history of renowned Indian Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. Lets have a quick review of Ramanujan released on July 11.

Director Gnana Rajasekaran known for his films like Mogamul, Mugam, Bharathi and Periyar, has written the story, screenplay for Ramanujan. He has directed the film simultaneously in Tamil and English versions featuring Indian and Hollywood actors.

Ramanujan marks the film debut of Abhinay Vaddi, the grandson of Gemini Ganesan and Savitri. Camphor Cinema produced Ramanujan cast also includes Suhasini Maniratnam, Kevin McGowan, Abbas, Bhama, Richard Walsh, Sharath Babu, Radha Ravi, Y. G. Mahendran, Manobala, Thalaivasal Vijay, Delhi Ganesh and others.

Movie: Ramanujan
Rating: 3/5
Staring : Abhinay Vaddi, Suhasini Mani Ratnam, Bhama, Y Gee Mahendra, Abbas, Nizhalgal Ravi
Director : Gnana Rajasekaran
Music : Ramesh Vinayakam
Production : Camphor Cinema
Release Date: 11-07-2014

Biopic is a popular genre across the globe, while making a biopic film makers will add the interesting incidents from the lead character’s life so that the film will also engage normal audience. Gnana Rajasekaran’s Ramanujan is indeed an appreciable attempt to portray almost a forgotten Indian legend.

While watching Ramanujan, myself started comparing it with a master piece called ‘Good Will Hunting’ which again depicted the life of a mathematical genius who is hailing from economically poor background and the reason for my comparison is because Good Will Hunting had a scene in which they compared  the film’s protagonist to Ramanujan.

Director Gnana Rajasekaran has worked hard to take references and incidents from Ramanujan’s life and the film is of course filled with lot of unknown information about the legend. Being a feature film, authenticate information alone is not enough, the director should have worked on the screenplay, extract the best acting from the supporting cast but what see is a screenplay which is like reading information about Ramanujan from various source rather than a coherent / smooth film viewing experience.

Also, as the film sets in 1900 it is not necessary that the actor’s in the film should act like 1950’s or 1960’s actors our own HeyRam was shot in the same period backdrop but the acting of all characters are very natural and didn’t appear to be dramatic.

Gnana Rajasekaran is definitely a great talent and being a national award winner he has proved himself through his works, Gnana Rajasekaran’s Bharathi is one of the finest biopic films ever made in Indian cinema. Looking back at Bharathi, it had a wonderful lead actor and also the screenplay, characterizations were excellent but here such essential things are missing.

For example, Suhasini’s role as komalthu Ammal is a powerful character in the film but till the climax of the movie we didn’t know that she separated both Ramanujan and his wife for a good cause.

Throughout the film there is a negative impression on Suhasini’s character and only in the climax we are getting to know the truth. This kind of characterizations and twists might suit for a commercial film but for a biopic all a viewer need is to root for the lead character and his relationship with his friends/family, due to this twist we couldn’t root for both Komalthuammal and Ramanujan.

Also why to limit the romance between Ramanujan and his wife just like 1950’s film? Where the hero hardly touches the heroine, the relationship between Ramanujan and his wife Janaki has been shown in an abstract way, so again we couldn’t root during Ramanujan’s separation from his wife. There is a scene where Suhasini tells Nizhalgal Ravi(Ramanujan’s father) that despite taking singing classes and also renting the house for college students, she couldn’t manage the family expense, the director has conveyed the poor economic status of Ramanujan’s family with this dialogue but cinema is more of a visual medium, we need scenes where the family is getting suffered without money.

Same Gnana Rajasekaran has done it beautifully in his earlier biopic Bharathi where the lead character undergoes tremendous pain and even starves for proper food without money, in Ramanujan the protagonist starves for food only when he is at Cambridge University because vegetarian foods are a rarity inside University. Though Ramanujan have scenes to depict the poverty of Ramanjan, all we hear are dialogues which show Ramanujan is poor but the protagonist’s acting didn’t convey the pain and agony.

Abhinay as Ramanujan has excelled in some scenes, for example the scene where explains the importance of zero(sooniyam) from Vedas is very much impressive, the way he narrates the incident between guru and shishya by showing variations in expression is laudable. Also the scene where Abhinay yells at the hospital staff depicts the pressure which Ramanujan underwent, if given proper opportunity and handled by right directors Abhinay might go places.

After Abhinay, music by Ramesh Vinayagam is outstanding. The ‘Narayana Narayana’ number and title card music along with the rich orchestration in background score sets the perfect period mood for the film.

Gnana Rajasekaran must also be appreciated for filming Ramanujan in Cambridge University and the actors who have acted as GH Hardy and Little wood have done great job. The end credits with Ramanujan’s achievments in mathematics is a wonderful way to celebrate the legend, especially the fact that Ramanujan’s last discovery, mock theta function was solved only in 2012 is a surprise information and it shows Gnana Rajasekaran has done his research work well.

On the whole, if you want to know about Ramanujan , go and see this Gnana Rajasekaran’s Ramanujan but if you really want to have a perfect biopic watching experience, I would say the director has missed few things in making Ramanujan  a cult classic.