Anand Kumar is a Maths genius and many of his former students could vouch for that. His claim for fame is his philanthropic initiative to coach 30 underprivileged but brilliant IIT aspirants, called 'Super 30', for the Joint Entrance Exams. That too for a negligible fee. Which is highly commendable, indeed, especially when the institute claims a high passing turnout. So Anand Kumar and his 'Super 30' programme deserve high praise.
It is not just us saying this - TIME magazine had included 'Super 30' in the list of Best of Asia 2010. 'Super 30' was singled out for praise by former United States President Barack Obama's special envoy Rashad Hussain. Anand Kumar had received the S Ramanujan Award for 2010 by the Institute for Research and Documentation in Social Sciences (IRDS).
There is nothing less inspiring a story about a man who hasn't gotten admission in IIT and yet managed to send so many deserving candidates there. So we can hardly blame Vikas Bahl, Anurag Kashyap and co to get a biopic on him rolling. Super 30, the film based on Anand Kumar's life, came out on July 12 and had Hrithik Roshan in the lead. Even though Hrithik looked nothing like the real-life Anand. Super 30 Review: 5 Flaws That Stop Hrithik Roshan’s Film From Being a Good Biopic That It Aims to Be (SPOILER ALERT).
The miscasting itself is not the only fallacious thing about this biopic, though. As is the trend with many biopics in Bollywood, Super 30 takes enough cinematic liberties to make a moving narrative on Anand Kumar's life. Whether it worked or not, you can figure that out by watching the movie yourself or reading our review. Super 30 Movie Review: Hrithik Roshan Is Sincere but Unconvincing in This Formulaic Take On Maths Genius Anand Kumar’s Life.
But the fact is that Super 30, in its attempt to over-idolise an already established real-life hero, ends up tweaking a lot of things in the film that is far away from the truth. The movie might be true about Anand Kumar's humble past and his achievements. We are not even getting into his totally filmy, but probably true, abandoned love story, nor that action-packed climax that sounds too filmy to be real.
We are talking about how 'Super 30', the coaching institute, is presented in the film. In this feature, we look at the five claims that the film makes about Anand Kumar's classes that don't match with what has been reported.
Claim #1 – Anand Kumar Was the Sole Founder of Super 30
The movie shows that Anand Kumar was solely responsible for the creation of Super 30 - a coaching class that trains 30 underprivileged IIT aspirants for free. Albeit, with a little help from his younger brother, Pranav (played by television actor Nandish Sandhu) who is involved in managing the finance.
In reality, though, the initiative was jointly conceptualised by Anand Kumar with Abhayanand, an IPS officer. In fact, it is also reported that Abhayanand was the one who wanted to make Super 30 a philanthropic project. He also used to teach there. Abhayanand and Anand later parted ways over a clash of interests, with Abhayanand joining Rahmani 30. Interestingly, there is no one portraying Abhayanand in the film.
Claim #2 - Anand Kumar Started Coaching Post 1996
Anand Kumar's story in the movie begins in 1996 starting with his struggles to get into Cambridge and then selling papad to feed his family, when his plans to study further don't work out. He is then hired to teach at a prestige IIT coaching class, and in 2002, he begins his first batch of Super 30.
If you do a bit of reading about the real man, you come across the fact that Anand Kumar has been coaching students from 1992 (or 1995...the year isn't that clear) in his own institute, Ramanujan School of Mathematics. By the time, he started work on Super 30, Anand already had more than 500 students getting trained from him. His humble beginnings and his family story shown in the film may all be true, but we cannot say the same about his teaching career.
Claim #3 - It Got 100% Success Rate in the First Year
In the climax, it is shown that Anand Kumar's first batch of Super 30 fought against all odds to get a 100% success rate.
In reality, though Super 30 claims to have gotten a 100% success rate in recent years, that didn't happen in the first batch. As per reports, 18 students out of 30 had gotten through the JEE - no mean feat indeed, though it is far from what the movie claims.
Claim #4 - Anand Kumar Had No Means to Support The Free Coaching
In the second half of Super 30, we see Anand Kumar struggling to arrange for rations with no provisions of funds. He seeks financial help from banks and private institutions but is not offered any help.
In real life, Anand Kumar might have found it difficult to sustain the special coaching programme, but he was not in penury. As mentioned in Claim #2, Anand Kumar already had a parallel coaching class running, and he used the fees from the students there to run Super 30. Also, certain reports also mention that it wasn't exactly a free class, a nominal fee was charged from the students annually. But there was much, much less from what the rest of the IIT aspirants had to cough out, so credit has to be given where it's due.
Claim #5 - Anand Kumar Was The Only Teacher in the First Super 30 Class
With only his brother for support, Anand Kumar took upon himself to teach the first batch of Super 30. Which is something incredible, though very far from the truth.
Anand Kumar is a Maths whiz, and many of his students would vouch for that. But IIT entrance exams also have Physics and Chemistry as subjects, and we never see these subjects being properly taught in the movie. In reality, the first Super 30 batch had other teachers as well, including Abhayanand. So even though Anand Kumar may be a real-life superhero, as the movie claims, there were other 'Avengers' to help him out!