This post was originally published in In Plainspeak, TARSHI's online magazine on sexuality in the Global South. TARSHI supports and enables people's control and agency over their sexual and reproductive health and well-being through information dissemination, knowledge and perspective building within a human rights framework.
Raat Akeli Hai packages Jatil as a 'knight in shining armor' for exposing the darkness underlying the respectful facade of the Thakur family, but we never see Jatil undergo any internal character development or acknowledge that his thoughts towards women need reform.
This is a narrative based on a ‘true story’ as seen through the eyes of a daughter, that is, Shakuntala Devi’s daughter Anupama Banerji. In doing so, unfortunately, this film has reduced the life of the late Guinness-record-holding 'human calculator' to just her motherhood.
The fact that the film indulges in Shakuntala Devi’s domestic conflicts more than it does in her extra ordinary intellect is very telling of the skewed vision with which we look at women and motherhood.