Lived like a whore…, fought like a queen!
The movie starts with a powerful narration which gives a rough picture of a brothel situated on the lands of the questionable Indian territory of Punjab, which is to be divided post the making of a new country…, Pakistan. The kings, administrators and localites visit this pleasure-seeking house, and Begum Jaan (Vidya Balan) is the undisputed owner of this very grand “kotha” (as they call it). Like every high-earning prostitute, Begum Jaan has her patron in the local king of that area (Naseeruddin Shah) and he is very loyal to her. The story takes a U-turn when India gets independent and a low eye-sighted old man, Sir Cyril Radcliffe plans to draw the international boundary dividing India and Pakistan forever. This Radcliffe line will be piercing into this very brothel, and the administrators visit Begum to talk about it. Begum Jaan refuse to vacate her “palace” where she has spent her entire life, and she decides to fight back. Her entire flock of prostitutes second her opinion and swear to save their house. Begum’s motto is “My Body, My House, My Rules” and she abides by that till the end. The communal violence tenses the whole area where more than 14 million people had to displace from their own lands. But Begum Jaan leaves no stone unturned in dividing her house into India and Pakistan.
The movie is a top-to-bottom remake of “RajKahini” which was also directed by Srijit Mukherji. Begum Jaan perfectly showcases the plight of the commoners during the partition of India, 1947. The amazing narration by Amitabh Bachchan will really stun you and give you goosebumps. But all in all, the cherry on the cake goes to Begum Jaan aka. Vidya Balan who rises and shines throughout the film as a sex worker. The other co-stars with Vidya Balan gave a good support to her in all the way possible which made the film totally engrossing. You’ll definitely be blown away from the top class cinematography and crisp dialogues.
Begum Jaan is a ditto remake of Srijit’s Rajkahini, and there’s no uniqueness in the film at all. In fact, if you have watched the movie, you will see nothing newer than the different star cast. Also, the climax is pretty much predictable and it is focused completely on the bunch of whores fighting which might bore you in some instances. Also, a total of 11 women in a single screen might become a screech-fest for you.
Srijit Mukherji is very well known for his effortless direction and a clear vision of how he wants to portray his pictures. He is one of the most sought after directors in Kolkata, and now definitely he’ll be known in Bollywood too. He has chosen an eccentric star cast which is surely a plus point.
The incredibly classic and traditional music of Begum Jaan is composed by Anu Malik and lyrics are written by Kausar Munir. “Prem Me Tohre” is a beautiful soulful song sung by Asha Bhosle which is praised by a lot of people. “Aazaadiyan’ by Sonu Nigam brings the patriotic feel in the movie and you will gain an adrenaline rush. Another bonus song “Murshida” is beautifully sung by Arijit Singh and it will make you forget everything else.
Begum Jaan definitely has its own share of shining moments especially with Vidya Balan giving her par-excellence performance in the film. The movie has given everything which is needed for a classic period film and you all will be stunned to know the story (if you haven’t seen the original ‘Rajkahini’ of course!). Srijit sure knows what to get from the film and how to portray the climax in a classy way. The various conversations between Begum and the administrators and others will give you goosebumps. Yes, you will literally memorize some of the hard-core dialogues. All in all, the movie is a must watch for the die-hard Vidya fans, and also for the ones who love watching art films!
Bollypedia Rating : 3/5 Stars