Cast: Vidya Balan, Gauahar Khan, Pallavi Sharda, Naseeruddin Shah, Vivek Mushran, Chunky Panday
Director: Srijit Mukherji
With ‘Begum Jaan’, director Srijit Mukherjee remakes his Bengali film ‘Rajkahini’ that starred Rituparna Sen Gupta in the lead role.National Award winning director Srijit Mukherji’s 2015 film Rajkahini had touched upon the gory partition of Bengal. Narrated from the point of view of the marginalized section- that is the prostitutes, the film earned critical acclaim and did rounds of several international film festivals.Two years later Mukherji makes his debut in Bollywood with an adaptation of his Bengali film.
Begum Jaan (Vidya Balan) owns a brothel and looks after it with the help of the King (Naseeruddin Shah). The ruthless king in return sleeps around with every single girl of the brothel. Amma (Ila Arun), Gulabo (Pallavi Sharda), Rubina (Gauahar Khan) and Shabnam (Mishti Chakravarthy) live with Begum Jaan in her brothel. They all live a happy life until India becomes independent in 1947.
Though the movie has a good ensemble, its quantity over quality. Many characters looked half-baked and under developed. It could have been better if the director restrained himself to focusing only in few, as the movie as a whole was too much to consume. The backstories do evoke sympathy, but somehow the over-stuffed content makes it fizzle in not much time.The strongest parts of the movie are its script and dialogues. The narrative is layered and the dialogues are powerful. The performances are each better than the other.Pallavi Sharda, Gauahar Khan also make a good impact. Naseeruddin Shah excels as usual and support his act ably.
Watch this only if you are fan of Vidya Balan.