Begum Jaan Even With Flaws Wins Hearts With Élan
When the trailer of Begum Jaan released, many compared it with one of Shyam Benegal’s iconic film on brothel Mandi, so is Begum Jaan actually inspired from Mandi? Well, I personally don’t think so, irrespective of the fact that both movies share the story about a brothel and people living there. Srijit Mukherjee directed RajKahini (Bengali film) in 2015, and Begum Jaan is its remake. The character of Vidyan Balan was played by Ritupurna Sen Gupta. Will Begum Jaan be successful at the box office? Is Begum Jaan the kind of a film which will be a feather in cap for the director and actors? Let’s explore!
Trailer Begum Jaan
Begum Jaan (Vidya Balan) runs a brothel which is supported by the Rajah Sahab (Naseeruddin Shah). In the brothel live many women from different cast, color and creed. At the end of the day, these women are source of entertainment and provide sexual pleasure to men from different religions and castes. Set in the Indo-Pak partition’s time, the demarcation of boundary divides the brothel in to two. When the government’s officials Hashvardhan (Ashish Vidyarthi) and Iliyas (Rajit Kapoor) disclose this in front of Begum Jaan, she refuses and plans to safeguard her house (brothel) and her family (the sex workers). What happens next is what Begum Jaan is all about.
Performance wise, Begum Jaan has its negatives. Vidya Balan is given with some crass and bad-ass dialogues but her delivery and expressions are not as convincing as they could’ve been. Vidya does have her fair share of good scenes where she over-shadows other actors with her emotional bursts but the consistency in her character is missing, to certain extent. The rawness in her character is somewhat half-baked. Pallavi Shardha is a total surprise. This film is the longest leap as an actress for Pallavi. Naseeruddin Shah in a cameo is brilliant with his dialogues and tone. He speaks very few lines but the way he does that is worth an applause. Gauhar Khan is effective but her accent, at times, sounds a bit too forced. Ashish Vidyarthi and Rajit Kapoor are first-rate and very earnest in their depiction of the characters.
Chunky Pandey as the baddie steals the show and takes audience with surprise. He breathes the character and makes you abhor him. Pitobash is improving with every movie; he needs to do more films. After Saudagar (his debut), Vivek Mushran will be remembered for his character (Master Jee) as a performer. Mushran nails it and gives a great performance.
Aazaadiyaan – Begum Jaan
The major plus point of Begum Jaan is its storytelling. The film is brilliantly directed, it makes you smile, brings tears to your eyes and even makes you think that this is a little too ridiculous but the film in totality is impressive. Srijit Mukherjee deserves appreciation for bringing such a subject on screen with complete understanding and command.
Music of Begum Jaan is very strong. 3 songs stand out prominently i.e. Aazaadiyan, (intensely sung by Sony Nigam and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan), Prem Mein Tohray (soulful track by Asha Bhosle / Kavita Shah) and O Re Kaharo (hauntingly sung by Altamash Faridi and Kalpana Patowary). The lyricists have done a great job with the entire album of Begum Jaan.
Prem Mein Tohre – Begum Jaan
Begum Jaan is an intense entertainer with so many emotions scattered around which range from friendship to hatred, lust to respect and women empowerment to the fact that whether it’s a Raani (Queen) or Sex Worker, she is seen as sex providing object for men.