3 out of 5 (60%) reviewers would recommend
Vidya Balan,Gauahar Khan,Ila Arun,Pallavi Sharda ,Naseeruddin Shah,Rajit Kapoor,Ashish Vidyarthi,Vivek,Mushran,Chunky Pandey,Poonam Singh Rajput,Ridheema Tiwari,Flora Saini,Priyanka Setia,Mishti Chakraborty,Sumit Nijhawan Pitobash,Rajesh Sharma
Begum Jaan is an upcoming action drama film written and directed by National award winning director Srijit Mukherji and produced by Mukesh Bhatt, Vishesh Bhatt and Play Entertainment. The film is co-produced by Sakshi Bhatt and Shree Venkatesh Films with executive producer Kumkum Saigal. The cinematography is done by Gopi Bhagat. Lyrics, Additional screenplay and dialogues have been penned by Kausar Munir and Rahat Indori.
Apr 14, 2017
BEGUM JAAN STORY-On the eve of Independence, the chairman of the Border Commission, Sir Cyril Radcliffe decides to divide India and Pakistan into equitable halves. What the administration doesn't account for is the line running through the middle of Begum Jaan's(Vidya Balan) brothel situated plonk on the border; with one half falling in India and the other in Pakistan.
It's a good period and story to revisit because even 70-years after Partition, anything around it still piques interest. Then again, here the narrative deals less with the horror of the divide and serves more as an ode to the spiritedness of Begum; widowed in her childhood and sold to a brothel. Also,Mukherji is revisiting his Bengali film Rajkahini(2015). Coming back to our protagonist-kings, administrators and commoners are hooked onto the pleasures provided by her girls, so Begum with her guile manages to rule. Till, Radcliffe draws the Lakshman-Rekha. Vidya invests fully in Begum and her dialogue-baazi (a lot of which is raunchy) will get ceetis. However, the writer-director's interest level in everything else, falters. A sense of deja-vu pervades as one watches a prostitute staring sightlessly at the celling when "entertaining" a customer; or when sex-workers get sentimental over a child, "because all of them are mothers first and whores later." Surely these women needed to be fleshed out with more finesse. Begum's spunk is infectious though. She resembles a Bengal tigress whether she is defending her body or boundaries. However, trying to retell her virtues through various historical avatars in animation, is far too indulgent. Also conversations between officials of the INC and Muslim League, or for that matter between other cardboard cutouts, is superficial. The cinematographer,s effort to capture the Indo-Pak divide with close-ups in half frames, seems amiss. The Holi number is peppy with striking visuals. Otherwise having the 11 women in one frame becomes nothing but a screech-fest. Having Vidya in a film is an asset though. She is an audacious actor, who merits an extra half star for her ability to shoulder a film.
The narrative of the film follows the drawing of the Radcliffe Line that divides India and Pakistan in 1947-48. It also goes through the house of Begum Jaan, a brothel owner, whose home is situated on the border. As the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League fight the partition out in their own way, Begum Jaan (Vidya Balan) who is the Madam running the brothel with 11 women under her as prostitutes, her faithful bodyguard is Salim (Sumit Nijhawan), a Pathan, and Surjit (Pitabosh Tripathy) their man-servant and entertainer. Begum Jaan is not concerned about Indian or Pakistan, her only concern is her business, which is already at a loss because of the continuous riots. There is a teacher and Congress worker (Vivek Mushran) who visits the brothel regularly with gifts for everyone. He has his own agenda. He loves Begum but another young girl(Pallavi Sharda) loves him. Meanwhile, the political sky is darkening. The line drawn by Radcliffe between Debiganj and Haldibari, place these places on either side of the border. Harshvardhan(Ashish Vidyarthi) from the Indian National Congress and Iliyas(Rajit Kapoor) from Muslim League (who were childhood friends but now separated) meet and discuss about the relocation of the people of the two districts. When they realise that Radcliffe line has been drawn right through the middle of Begum Jaan's brothel, they take the local police with them and meet Begum Jaan and tell her to evacuate her brothel along with her women, who refuses to budge. Meanwhile, the Raja of the nearby Princely State (Naseeruddin Shah) who is meant to be moving out stays the night at the brothel of his old faithful Begum. Begum asks him to help out and asks him to actually punish the INC and ML officials who dared to ask her to vacate her place. The Raja says he will look into the matter. But after his visit to Delhi, Raja realises that he himself is helpless because all of the rulers of the Princely States have lost their titles and now under the Government themselves. Exasperated at the futile attempts to evict Begum and her women from the house, the political leaders from both sides employ Kabir (Chunkey Pandey) who commits atrocities on the women. His goondas chase Surjit and three other girls who were returning from the market. While Surjit manages to save the girls he himself gets butchered by Kabir. His death saddens Begum. That night, Kabir and his gang set fire to the brothel. The women, trained to use rifles by Salim,put up a brave fight. Some of Begum's girls get killed. Saleem who is trying to escape bullets ends up getting burnt. After the bloodbath, the remaining women including Begum enter the inferno of the house and willingly accept their death. When dawn breaks, the house and its inmates have been burnt to dust.
1. The length of the Hindi version was kept shorter than the original Bengali one. 2. Ritu and Vidya met and chatted about their roles 3. Rituparna Sengupta played the role in the Bengali version. It is the same role done by Vidya Balan in Hindi. 4. 'Begum Jaan' is a remake of the Bengali film, 'Rajkahini' (2015) directed by Srijit Mukherji. 5. During the shoot of the film,the actors were advised to use minimal make-up to keep the look of the characters authentic.
Vidya Balan's 'Begum Jaan' collected Rs 3.25 crore on its first Saturday after opening at Rs 3.50 crore, according to a report on Boxofficeindia.com. This takes its two-day total to Rs 6.75 crore. The Srijit Mukherji-directed film released on Good Friday, which was a holiday and was expected to benefit from the extended weekend. 'Begum Jaan' is an adaptation of the original Bengali film 'Rajkahini', which had Rituparna Sengupta in the lead role. Starring Gauahar Khan, Pallavi Sharda, Chunky Pandey, Naseeruddin Shah and many others, 'Begum Jaan' rides high on its powerful dialogues penned by Kausar Munir and Rahat Indori. 'Begum Jaan' revolves around the madam of a brothel, played by Vidya Balan. The story traces how she and her girls refuse to give up their house for the border which is supposed to pass through it during the India-Pakistan partition. Set in the backdrop of the post-Independence period of 1948, the film also has a few soul-stirring numbers like 'O re Kaharo', 'Prem mein tohre' and 'Aazaadiyan'.