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As the story unfolds we see Ramanujan's boss insisting that he has to show his work to someone who can enable him to make a name and present his skills to the world. Ramanujan writes to Professor Hardy at Trinity College, Cambridge, England and lands a scholarship to go and publish papers on Mathematics. Of course being skeptical and condescending about brown skinned Indians, Hardy's colleagues try and place as many roadblocks in Ramanujan's progress as possible. Like most Indians he toils through these hardships and works diligently on his Mathematics theorems and emerges a winner ultimately. His life in England is not easy, for instance he is a pure vegetarian and there is nothing in the college mess that he can eat. Even potatoes are cooked in lard, so Ramanujan has to depend on self-cooking using the fireplace in his room as the stove. The freezing cold of England is not friendly to the Tamilian who is used to hot and humid weather back home. Being separated from family and wife is hard on the young Indian genius. Winning despite all odds seems to be the message one gets out of this story.
On the downside this movie seems like a half-hearted attempt to tell the life story of Srinivasa Ramanujan, the ace Mathematician from Tamil Nadu, India who was able to overcome the racism and prejudice of the British. The number expert proved to the British rulers that Indians were indeed brilliant in science and were a force to reckon. I call this movie a half-hearted attempt because of several lapses in screenplay starting with the lead character, played by Dev Patel. Ramanujan is a South Indian and Patel looks nothing like a South Indian. The British-born son of Kenyan immigrants has very remote - if any - ties to India and none whatsoever to South Indian Tamil tradition, culture or heritage. Like all other Westerners he doesn't know how to pronounce his own name "Ramanujan", he constantly pronounces it like Westerners as "Ramanoojan". The next fallacy is the portrayal of him wearing slippers inside his living quarters, few Brahmins would do that in this day and age, let alone in 1913. His portrayal as a dirt poor Indian citizen wearing tattered rags looking for a job is interesting, but how can he afford leather sandals? His wife and mother sport gold jewelry and wear only silk sarees which even in those times were pretty pricey to come by. How can someone who wears tattered clothes afford to buy his wife silk sarees, if indeed he had an inheritance that enabled these luxuries, why couldn't he himself wear proper clothes?
The previous paragraph was to vent out my frustrations but now let me talk about the merits of the movie. It definitely presents Indians under British in a positive light and the statement of Ramanjuan about how his god and religion (Hinduism) gives him the inspiration, insight, and the ability to do almost inconceivable calculations in Mathematics is definitely a fantastic narrative.