It is not often that Hollywood directors make a film on an Indian personality, but Matthew Brown, who has brought the life of Indian mathematical prodigy Srinivasa Ramanujan’s on the big screen in “The Man Who Knew Infinity”, says people should look beyond cultural barriers when making a movie.
Starring “Slumdog Millionaire” star Dev Patel in the lead role, the movie is about Ramanujan, whose tutelage under the English academic GH Hardy gave rise to some of the field’s more remarkable 20th-century discoveries.
“We don’t have to limit ourselves. We are all human beings, we have to get past the culture and colour barriers and work toward making good movies,” Brown told PTI on the sidelines of IFFI, where “The Man Who Knew Infinity” was the opening film.
For the biopic, the director has adapted the biography on Ramanujan written in 1991 by Robert Kanigel. The film touches upon the self-taught mathematician’s upbringing in India, his mathematical achievements and his collaboration with English mathematician G H Hardy (Jeremy Irons).
When asked why he decided to tackle a complicated story of a mathematician’s life, Brown said he didn’t treat it like a “science-based film” and saw it more like a human story.
“These men were pure mathematicians. But I think of them as artistes and that’s how I see science. I was inspired by the book. I can’t say that science led me to this but the human story led me to this.”
The director said like any other biopic, this project was also an uphill task for him but he decided to hone the story for ten-long years before he thought it was accurate and perfect enough to be presented before the audience.
“Biopics are complicated. I wanted to stay true to his story and probably that’s why it took ten years to make. It was a difficult journey.”
The movie, which had its world premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, also stars Devika Bhise, who plays Ramanujan’s wife Janaki, Toby Jones, Kevin McNally, Jeremy Northam, Stephen Fry and Indian actors Dhritiman Chatterjee and Arundathi Nag.
Brown hopes that “The Man Who Knew Infinity” will release in the US next year in spring, followed by an India release.
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