If you haven't yet seen The Man Who Knew Infinity, the biographical story of genius East Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, do yourself a favor and rush to the theater. Dev Patel stars as Ramanujan opposite Devika Bhise, who plays his wife, Janaki. The film not only follows Ramanujan's journey to Cambridge to pursue his career in mathematics, but also examines the love story between him and his wife, who stayed behind in India. Bhise's portrayal of Janaki was especially significant because it was an opportunity to honor her culture. "As an Indian, I'm excited that there's an Indian film in the mainstream cinema," she told InStyle.
Because her character spends the bulk of the film in India, Bhise's costumes consisted of the traditional Indian madisar (the nine-yard sari) worn by women after marriage. "Most saris are five yards, and I’m very proud of the fact that I can put on a five-yard sari in, like, under two minutes," she explains. "Whenever I go to an Indian event, I usually borrow one from my mom because five-yard saris are all the same size." But in order to make the film as culturally accurate as possible, Bhise learned to drape a nine-yard sari like a pro. "Nine-yard saris are super complicated," she says. "You have to wrap them between your legs and then over your body in order to be able to walk properly. The trick is to pin it in place throughout every step of the process. Each time your drape a section, pin it."
"I learned how to do it myself rather than having someone do it for me because it was such a crucial part of getting into character," adds Bhise. To see Bhise's character in action, you can catch The Man Who Knew Infinity in theaters now. Watch the official trailer below.