Chennai: Armed with just two photographs of legendary mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, a Tamil biopic has recreated his life, right from his small town moorings in Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu to Cambridge in England in a film slated for a July release.
"We had just two of his photographs for reference. He had got a picture of him clicked for affixing in his passport and the other during another occasion," Sakunthala Rajasekaran, Costume Designer for the film 'Ramanujan' told PTI.
Directed by National award-winning director Gnana Rajasekaran, the film is about the life of maths wizard Ramanujan (1887-1920) from Kumbakonam in the late 19th century Tamil Nadu to Cambridge.
How did Sakunthala manage to recreate Ramanujan ? "I started from there. Photos were only two.. but thankfully there were useful references, including Ragami's book on Ramanujan to get the costume right."
Importantly, Ramanujan's physical appearance recounted by his neighbour in a letter that "the genius used to literally run to his office with his tuft flying" helped decide that the maths wizard had tuft during his job with Chennai Port Trust. "Later on,when he went to England he did not have a
tuft. The photograph taken for his passport proves this. He was also clean shaven."
Similarly, Sakunthala says every other "costume aspect" in "getting back" the late 19th and early 20th centuries on screen has been done. "I was careful on the design, texture and colour... Used basic colours to recreate the 19th century nine yard sarees used by Brahmin women." Did Gnana Rajasekaran have any trouble with the period film? "In the UK there was no problem at all..they have everything ready..neatly arranged age-wise," he said.
"When I pointed to a furniture and said I needed it for depiction for a particular year...they said it belonged to the 1930's and gave me the right one...they are so conscious." Srivatsan Nadathur, one of the producers of the film said the crew was very happy when authorities in UK gave them a real 20th century locomotive.
"The train engine was in perfect working condition. Though it consumed several tons of coal to start,we were happy it ran perfectly for two kilometers and we could complete the shoot." Abhinay Vaddi, grandson of the legendary actor pair of yesteryear Gemini Ganesan and Savithri, dons the role of
Renowned British actor Kevin McGowan has done the role of Prof G H Hardy in the movie.