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)

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

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
‘Horrible’: Number of positive tests in Elk Valley on the rise

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
253 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths in Interior Health over the weekend

More than 1,000 cases in the region remain active

(File Photo)
Fernie Heritage Library plans Family Literacy Day events

The Fernie Heritage Library is hosting a number of programs to get kids excited about reading

The City of Fernie's pilot snow plow program is ongoing through the 2020-21 winter season. (Soranne Floarea / The Free Press)
Changes coming to Fernie snow plow efforts

Curb-to-curb plowing will be the most obvious change after the next snowfall in Fernie

Dustin Denham, Colin Standish, Jennifer Sliva, Jennifer King, and Cindy Sleeman rode to the Montane Hut to celebrate Fernie Fatbike Day. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)
First ever Fernie Fatbike Day gets local tires spinning

The FMBC’s inaugural event spread the Fernie fatbike stoke all over local trails on Jan. 16

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Sunnybank
COVID-19 related deaths at Oliver, West Kelowna and Vernon senior care homes

Sunnybank, Heritage Retirement Residence and Noric House recorded deaths over the weekend

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Most Read