October 26, 2020

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Begum Jaan Review: Sigh, there’s a lack of Jaan!

A good amount of expectations were raised when the trailer of this film was released. Also, as it’s a multi-starrer film with the powerhouse Vidya Balan as a leading lady, moviegoers were expecting something a truly worthwhile watchable movie. Well, let’s see how far the makers have succeeded in fulfilling these expectations!

It’s a story of 11 sex-workers who refuses to leave their brothel to divide Punjab in two parts during the partition, one for India and another one for Pakistan. Lead by the shrewd and sharp Begum Jaan, her motto is very simple – my body, my house, my rules.

Despite being served an official notice from the politicians (Ashish Vidyarthi and Rajit Kapur), who are representing respective governments of India and Pakistan, Begum Jaan and the inhabitants living in the brothel rebels against the move to relocate elsewhere. What forms the crux of the story is that it focuses on the fight conducted by a handful of prostitutes to save their brothel.

Loosely based on Shyam Benegal’s 1986 movie “Mandi”, it’s a Hindi remake of the Bengali film Rajkahini (2015). This period drama is written and directed by the National Film Award-winning Srijit Mukherji, where his direction is top-notch but can’t be said the same to the writing part here. Although the Bengali version, which was also written and directed by Srijit, was a remarkable one, but somehow he fails to bring out that same magic here in Hindi version.

Meanwhile, Srijit’s execution is top-notch where some of the dramatic sequences in the movie truly stay with you. However, some of the sequences gets unnecessarily drag-off. Also, the tension-level in this expected hard-hitting drama was less, plus few of the sequences were not required and relevant as well to take the main story forward.

On the other side, the movie has some stellar performances from one and all. Vidya Balan is the soul and backbone of ‘Begum Jaan’, where she overshadows the flaw in the movie and lifts up in some different level. In short, she as usual performs something top-notch and delivers yet another memorable act.

Rest of the cast superbly supports and helps to make the movie as interesting and watchable as one can. Naseeruddin Shah was wonderful in his interesting cameo, and Chunkey Pandey surprises in his new avatar as a merciless contract killer. Gauhar Khan delivers her best here, and Pallavi Sharda was in her terrific form. Vivek Mushran, Pitobash, Ashish Vidyarthi, Rajit Kapur and Rajesh Sharma were brilliantly great. Ila Arun didn’t get much scope, and others supported well.

Songs were just part of narration, Cinematography captured the mood well and dialogues were bold and attention-grabbing.

So is it a Paisa-Vasool film? Well, going by the above-mentioned expectations the film is not worth to watch as a whole. However, there are some gritty sequences along with bravura performances by the star-cast, for which one can watch this movie at any point of time. Otherwise, one can skip this Vidya Balan-starrer movie!

Rating: 2 Stars

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