Indian teacher Anand Kumar who is the inspirational subject of the book Super 30, and author Dr. Bijou Matthew of Maple Ridge attended a screening of the hit movie by the same name in Maple Ridge on Friday night. (Neil Corbett/THE NEWS)

Blockbuster movie with links to B.C. tells story of inspirational teacher

Indian mathematician Anand Kumar and Dr. Bijou Matthew in Maple Ridge

Indian teacher Anand Kumar was in Maple Ridge, B.C., on Friday to see his story told on the big screen during a special filming of Super 30.

Maple Ridge author Dr. Bijou Matthew met Kumar in Maple Ridge in 2011, at a gala for the South Asian Cultural Society. Eight years ago, he told the crowd in Maple Ridge his inspirational story of helping 30 students every year to lift themselves from grinding poverty through education, and got a huge ovation.

“He gave a fabulous talk, for about 25 minutes, and received standing applause for about 10 minutes,” remembered Matthew. “That was the start of this long journey.”

Later, at the doctor’s home, the two men agreed to tell his story in a book.

It tells the story of how the mathematics prodigy defied all challenges to set up one of the most successful and innovative teaching initiatives in the world. Born in Chandipur Bela, Patna, Kumar secured a place in Cambridge University but couldn’t attend because he had no money.

He sold papads in the evenings instead. He dealt with his own disappointment by setting up an innovative school in 2002 to prepare underprivileged students for the rigorous Indian Institutes of Technology entry examination. Each year, 27 or 28 of his students pass.

Kumar explained the IIT is comparable to MIT in the U.S., and graduates move on to high placements in Western companies.

“Ten or 15 years ago they had nothing, not even proper food or clothes,” he explained on Friday night.

After many visit’s to India and three and a half years of writing Matthew’s book “Super 30: Changing the World 30 students at a time,” was a success. It was written in English, and has since been translated into six languages.

“It became a blockbuster in India,” Matthew said.

The book has since become the basis for the hit movie which was released in July, and is one of the highest-grossing Hindi-language films of the year. It has played in 71 countries.

Kumar is played by Hrithik Roshan, who is one of the biggest stars in India and the winner of many awards. He is also considered a heart throb, comparable to Brad Pitt, and Kumar joked the actor had to lose some muscle to play the mathematician.

“The film is done very well, and the main actor, Roshan, has done a fabulous job,” said Matthew.

Kumar said the movie is inspirational in his country.

“I received a lot of reaction after the release of the movie. Everyone now wants to become a teacher after watching the movie.”

He has also heard the book is to be translated into more languages, from Korean to French.

“I hope that in future the book will be a hit in the entire world.”

Kumar said the fame will bring more success to the school, which he runs with his brother Pranav, who oversees many of the practical jobs of running it.

“Now the school has become famous. We are planning to expand my school. It will happen due to only the book written by Bijou Matthew.”

Matthew corrected Kumar, saying “He has done a lot of work. He is very humble.”

MLA Lisa Beare spoke, noting that as Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture, film and television is part of her portfolio, and Dr. Matthew spoke to her about his project.

“I have this idea, and it’s going to be bigger than Slumdog Millionaire,” she quoted him.

Beare brought message from Premier John Horgan to Friday’s reception.

“Films like this spark inspiration in the hearts of viewers everywhere,” wrote Horgan. “The story of a teacher who champions the potential of talented students to overcome hardship and succeed is one that resonates with people throughout our province and indeed, around the world.”

Ahmed Yousef, board member of the South Asian Cultural Society, said the story touches his heart.

“What is more important to help than our future, than our students?” he asked. “Regardless of how much Bollywood magic you’re going to see in there, it will not do the real story justice.”

Paul Gill of the Ridge Meadows South Asian Cultural Society, said he hopes people see how everyone can make a difference.

“My hope, my prayer, is that you leave this evening inspired, with a particular focus on what is it that you can do, to help those around you who are less fortunate.”


 

@NeilCorbett18
ncorbett@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kootenay doctor among 82 physicians, dentists calling on province for mandatory mask rule

Open letter says masks should be worn in indoor public spaces, public transportation or in crowds

Structures not threatened by wildfires burning in the Arrow and Kootenay Lakes region

Official says more lightning-caused fires could occur in region over next 36 hours

West Kootenay region experiences drier-than-normal July: Report

The region only received around 57% of its normal precipitation during the month

Rossland Heritage Commission looks for new members

You have until Sept. 4 to apply to become a member

No new COVID cases in Kootenay-Boundary

As of July 30, there were no additional cases in the previous two weeks

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

Facebook launches its new TikTok clone, Instagram Reels

Facebook has a long tradition of cloning competitive services

B.C. Appeal Court prevents Victoria woman from using the term ‘death midwife’ in her job

Pashta MaryMoon claimed she had been providing “death-care services” for more than 40 years

‘We all have anxieties’: B.C.’s top doctor addresses return-to-school fears amid COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry promises school restart plan safe for B.C. kids

Abbotsford mom worried about her two kids in Beirut following explosion

Shelley Beyak’s children were abducted by their dad in 2018

Young Canadians, hospitality workers bear the brunt of mental strain in 2020: report

A study by Morneau Shepell points to economic uncertainty in the pandemic as the cause for angst

Health Canada recalling more than 50 hand sanitizers in evolving list

Organization says to stop using products listed, and to consult a health-care professional

Airborne hot dog strikes Greater Victoria pedestrian

Police called to 4200-block of Quadra Street for hot dog incident

Most Read