Srinivasa Ramanujan (Dev Patel) was born in a poor section of Madras, India. From a very early age, mathematics was a language he spoke better than anyone around him. He was gifted like very few before him and was able to come up with complex formulas and theories without the usual supporting printed work. He just knows his theories are correct and will eventually be verified.
His goal was to send his work to noted mathematics professor, G.H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons), at Cambridge University in London, England, arguably the Mecca of mathematics. Hardy reads Ramanujan's work and asks him to come to Cambridge to work and study under his guidance. Ramanujan gleefully accepts the offer and heads to England to realize his dreams.