A Film That Looks Into The Inspiring Life Of A Genius From A Small South Indian Town

Posted on September 18, 2016 in Culture-Vulture

By Rohini Banerjee for Youth Ki Awaaz:

Editor’s Note: As part of our coverage of PSBT’s Open Frame Film Festival And Forum 2016 that is currently going on in Delhi (13th – 20th September), Youth Ki Awaaz will be featuring reviews of films and interviews with directors. This year’s theme is “Reflections and Ruminations.” 

Srinivas Ramanujan—the original Indian genius. We’ve heard him mentioned in math and history books, but through the documentary “Srinivasa Ramanujan: The Mathematician And His Legacy” directed by Nandan Kudhyadi, we see the legendary scholar’s history and achievements come alive.

Ramanujan has left a tremendous impact to the study of Mathematics worldwide (especially with his contribution to the Number Theory), and had changed the very face of the field itself. It’s mind boggling how so many contemporary mathematicians and math scholars have been influenced by his work; and through their personal accounts, this film takes a thorough look at how Ramanujan had taken mathematical scholarship by storm.

We get a glimpse of his childhood days as the documentary explores his life in his hometown Erode (Madras);of how he was an autodidact and how most of mathematical knowledge was self-taught. Then we’re transported to his life in Oxford; and how he had to struggle with racism, a whole new culture and yet (with the help of British mathematician G H Hardy) established himself among his contemporaries and created a lasting impression in the study of mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions. While on the one hand, the documentary is informative and full of a biographical exploration of Ramanujan’s life, it also look at the relevance of Ramanujan’s work in contemporary times.

Academics and scholars from all over the world share their experiences with Ramanujan’s work, and talk about how he had revolutionised the study of mathematics itself. His research had opened up new possibilities, and have led to the evolution and proliferation of whole new branches of mathematics; in fact, his work has been widely used in various branches of applied science.

The documentary is an interesting watch for both those familiar and not so familiar with Ramanujan’s contributions. It’s a look into the life of a truly inspiring genius who started off in small town South India, but went on to become one of the greatest and most respected mathematicians all over the world.

Catch Nandan Kudhyadi’s film “Srinivasa Ramanujan: The Mathematician And His Legacy” at 5.00 pm on September 19 at India International Centre. To see the full Open Frames Festival programme, click here.