New York, NY: The Man Who Knew Infinity, a new movie depicting the improbable true story of a unique genius, Srinavasa Ramanujan, whose pivotal theories propelled him from obscurity into a world in the midst of war, and how he fought tirelessly to show the world the genius of his mind, will be shown during the New York Indian Film Festival planned for next month here in the New York City.
The New York Indian Film Festival was the first festival in the United States devoted to Indian films and has grown to be the largest and most influential, helping to set up several other Indian Film festivals in the US. Claus Mueller speaks with the New York Film Festival Executive Director Aroon Shivdasani on the progress story and the problems encountered.
There will be a post-screening discussion with Director Matt Brown, Executive Producer Annie Pressman, Executive Producer Swati Bhise, Lead Actor Devika Bhise, Nobel Laureate Manjul Bhargava immediately following the screening. The screening of this film has been made possible by Executive Producer Swati Bhise.
Colonial India, 1913. Srinavasa Ramanujan (Dev Patel) is a 25-year-old shipping clerk and self-taught genius, who failed out of college due to his near-obsessive, solitary study of mathematics. Determined to pursue his passion despite rejection and derision from his peers, Ramanujan writes a letter to G. H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons), an eminent British mathematics professor at Trinity College, Cambridge. Hardy recognizes the originality and brilliance of Ramanujan’s raw talent and despite the skepticism of his colleagues, undertakes bringing him to Cambridge so that his theories can be explored.
Ramanujan leaves his family, his community, and his beloved young bride, Janaki (Devika BhisÃ©), to travel across the world to England. There, he finds understanding and a deep connection with his sophisticated and eccentric mentor(Jeremy Irons). Under Hardy’s guidance, Ramanujan’s work evolves in ways that will revolutionize mathematics and transform how scientists explain the world. Hardy fights tirelessly to get Ramanujan the recognition and respect that he deserves but in reality he is as much an outcast in the traditional culture of Cambridge as he was among his peers in India. But Ramanujan fights illness and intense homesickness to formally prove his theorems so that his work will finally be seen and believed by a mathematical establishment that is not prepared for his unconventional methods.
As other specialty or niche festivals, the NYIFF has a unique programming profile devoted to features, documentaries and shorts made in the Indian Diaspora, or by Indian independent film makers. Its goal is to foster an understanding of India and its culture and to contribute to improving US Indian relations. The festival is attracting a growing number of Americans. Individuals of Indian ancestry account for 60%of the audience. That group encompasses about 700.000 persons in the tristate area. 53 films were screened in 2015, and this year’s edition will show 79 films and added two more screening days.
Aroon Shivdasani, the festival’s driving spirit and its executive director, says, “We started this film festival in 2001 because we wanted to showcase Indian Independent and Diaspora films in the US -something that had not been done before. Less than two decades ago, nobody knew about real Indian Cinema in North America. We are the oldest Indian film festival in the US – older than any of the other Indian film festivals that have now cropped up all over the country, like those in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, and many others. We started as an Indian Diaspora film festival screening films made by Indians living all over the world – outside India.”
Celebrating its 16th anniversary from May 7-14, 2016, the New York Indian Film Festival was the first festival in the United States devoted to Indian films and has grown to be the largest and most influential, helping to set up several other Indian Film festivals in the US. It is part of a comprehensive program in the arts offered by the New York based Indo-American Arts Council.