Robert Kanigel’s 1991 book, The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan, begins with “For five years, walled off from India by war, Ramanujan would remain in strange, cold, distant England, fashioning, through twenty-one major papers, an enduring mathematical legacy. Then, he would go home to India, to a hero’s welcome, and die.”
Unless you are a mathematician, it is entirely possible that you’ve made it this far in your life without the words “Srinivasa Ramanujan” crossing your lips.
Paramount Home Media announced this past week that writer/director Matt Brown’s film adaptation of Kanigel’s book, The Man Who Knew Infinity, will be making its DVD debut on Aug. 23.
The ARR works out to 116 days and domestic ticket sales for this IFC Films theatrical release (limited to under 300 screens) currently stands at $3.5 million.
Ramanujan was born to a family of limited means in Erode, India in 1887. His siblings all died in infancy and by all accounts he too was a sickly child, but by the age of 11 it was apparent to his teachers that he had a special gift for mathematics.
By the age of 16 he was a self-taught mathematician working on the cutting edge … we’re talking string-theory cutting edge mathematics! A self-taught 16-year old, think about it!!!
So here you have a genius, living in British Empire India and his teachers are fully aware of his gift. That can only mean one thing … jolly ole’ England and that is the focus of filmmaker Matt Brown’s film as Ramanujan (played by Dev Patel), after a five-year effort — delayed both by his very orthodox mother and the fact that a number of famous mathematicians in England at the time simply could not understand how far out there he was — comes to Cambridge.
Once there he is mentored by Godfrey Harold "G. H." Hardy (Jeremy Irons), a cutting edge mathematician in his own right, who did recognize just how “out there” Ramanujan was.
Their relationship — real opposites — is the focus of the film and it works like a charm. The Man Who Knew Infinity is a great story and fascinating in the take on who these two men were.
Just to give you some idea of how crazy smart Ramanujan was, he could look at a number and tell you if there were two cubed numbers that might be in the number in question — i.e. 1x1x1 plus 2x2x2 — and then tell you if there was another combination of cubed numbers that also equaled the same product.
The number of 1729, for example, is such a number, which just happened to be the number of a taxi that popped up in a conversation between Hardy and Ramanujan. Ramanujan, immediately knew that 13 + 123 equals 1729 … and so does 93 + 103. Do that off the top of your head!
In other release news this week from Paramount Home Media, Aug. 16 marks the DVD The title of this latest group of animated adventures featuring fraternal twins — Shimmer and Shine, who just happen to be genies — is Shimmer and Shine: Welcome to Zahramay Falls.release of the next collection of Nickelodeon’s popular Shimmer and Shine animated adventures.
Included in the mix are three magical adventures — “Welcome to Zahramay Falls,” “First Wish” (a double-length story) and “Happy Wishaversary.”