The Man Who Knew Infinity (English) Vs Ramanujan (Tamil) – comparative review

Every one now is interested on the review about the film The Man who knew infinity (2015) biopic. I have combined/compared reviews of this film along with another film Ramanujan (2014) with a caption 'mathematics of future found yesterday itself) of Tamil as I am always fond of numbers and hence thoroughly enjoyed both the films and would like to share my review.


Both the films are biopic of real life Srinivasa Ramanujan, the former is produced in English while the later is produced as back to back in Tamil and English. While the former is taken as the man's pure academic life while the later is taken as the life of man behind the mathematics.

Both the background are same that the genius mathematician growing up as poor in India and get into Cambridge through letters to Professor G.H Hardy and became pioneer in theoretical mathematics in number theory.

The Man who Knew Infinity:

As I said earlier, it is purely an academic life of a person and the relationship between a professor and a student particularly as an advanced level of learning or research of mathematics. The stars Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons surely brings the academic life of Ramanujan and Hardy. As it is in the campus of Cambridge University, the story did not need any of the personal life to be shown for a professor and being the biographical drama it shows some of the personal life of Ramanujan in India as well as the campus life like how a student from other land may suffer from so many aspects like racism, culture and specifically being born as a Brahmin in Tamil Nadu and accustomed only to vegetables and also the life is during the WWI and hence the lack of nutritious food made him sick. Also it portrayed that his mentor is happy as an atheist bachelor with other interests apart from Maths but he being interested to live only with mathematics and also as a theist with his belief that his mathematical formulae are god's gift which cannot be accepted as a mathematical researchers at that time. But it is the Hardy's part along with another Professor Littlewood(Toby Jones) that they tried to prove many of his formulae and fought and got him BA, FRS and obtain Trinity fellowship also. There are some scenes which portrays the life of his wife Janaki (actor Devika Bhise) being departed and lead life under the custody of his mother in law(Aruntati Nag). Also the climax did not show much of the life at India after he returned with sickness to India and they showed just as an information we may seek in any of the online portals.

As the producers and Director concentrated much on the mathematical theorems and got appreciated by mathematicians and scientists and this is based on the 1991 book by Robert Kanigel with the same name The Man who knew Infinity. As the film is total work outside India and particularly TN, these minutes things might not be noted much by others as it is unique only in this Community of TN that it has not been focussed much. While most of the part of India combined education with Lord Saraswathi and Vinayak being the omnipresent projected by majority of Indians, this community pray only to Lord Vishnu and their hereditary god mostly as some form of Vishnu or Lakshmi and Ramanujam has a strong belief that his theorems are written by Namagiri Thayar which is supposed to be their family hereditary god. Hence keeping of god(Vinayak and Saraswathi) in the shelf in Cambridge campus does not convey the tradition of Ramanujan's community. The Director wanted to keep the description of Hardy in his book 'that romantic incident of his life' the period they have spent together in campus, he showed excellently the intellectual bonding along with emotions between Hardy and Ramanujan which really bring the Indian audience into tears.


It is totally a different projection starts from Ramanujan's(actor Abinay – grand son of Savithri and Ganesan) early life at Kumbakonam, his school life, life at different colleges in TN with his struggles and failure in getting FA, career in Madras and how the people around him helped him to get in touch with Hardy(Kevin Mchovan) and make him to go to London and also being a film of Indian nature with songs that revolves around one and half hours and the forty five minutesis shown as a campus life in Cambridge and again 15 minutes life in India as his last days,. Here the director portrayed only the positive side of acceptance of Ramanujan as a genius in Cambridge University and incidents when Hardy made him to get BA, FRS and Trinity Fellow ship and hence not showed the academic life but showed the struggle in campus he faced being a vegetarian and with his culture and as a theist and the question of relationship between Hardy and Ramanujan between an atheist and a theist. This film has been taken at the backdrop of Tamil Culture it portrays more on the Brahminism of that time and hence showed all aspects even during his death. Here they have concentrated more on the look of Ramanujan and in different places they have matched the available posture of Ramanujan with the costume and hairstyle of actor. This film is based on the book of Ragami's Kanitha Methai Ramaujan(meaning mathematical genius Ramanujan) in Tamil.

In the closing placard it shows the theorem mock theta function he found during his dead bed is proved after 92 years in 2012 and also the applications like ATM, Password and in the fields of Computer Science, Cancer treatment etc are based on Ramanujan's Mathematics only.

Combined review In both the films, they have shown the number 1729 and its explanation by Ramanujan that it is smallest number to be expressed as sum of cubes of two numbers in two different ways when Hardy showed his emotion linked with situation that everything is dull that day when Ramanujan was about to return to India and this number being his cab taxi number in which he came. In Tamil film, the father's character is also shown while it is missing in English. In both the films the character of civil Engineer (Sir Francis Spring) has been portrayed very well who is instrumental for Ramanujan to get into Cambridge.The actors are Richard Walsh in Ramanujan and Stephen Fry in The man who knew infinity. While the former has a good appreciation from mathematicians and scientists as they have projected theoretical mathematics well that even complex things has been able to reach to a common man, the latter has given credit to show his mathematical ability right from the beginning that he asked question about zero to his teacher in his early school life, also gave explanation via Vedic philosophy of why zero/zero is infinity. On another occasion, he showed the angle of 130-140 degrees while seeing birds fly and how they adjust each other to fly in a v shaped way with an angle of 130-140 degrees.

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