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Begum Jaan - To Watch or Not


The Movie Begum Jaan is out for appraise and criticism. The first show of the movie was great, the movie managed to take a sit among hits even though its story was not as alluring as the others have been.

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What makes the movie an interesting piece to watch is its cast. It has Vidya Balan (Begum Jaan) playing the lead role and Pallavi Sharda, Naseeruddin Shah, Gauhar Khan, Chunky Pandey, Priyanka Setia, Fllora Saini, Ila Arun, Gracy Goswami, Ridhima Tiwari, Poonam Rajput and the list goes on and on. With so many female characters in the movie, one can guess the story should be around these women only. When I first heard about the movie I thought it would be some movie around some female issue. But, no! The movie is full of drama and goes back to the time when India and Pakistan were separated. 

The movie is based on ‘Rajkahini’, Srijit Mukherji’s Bangla film. Although I haven't watch the Bangla film and believe that it is a faithful remake. The movie climbs to a high-pitched melodramatic perch, and progresses in episodic lurches that just never come down. This has somehow impacted the overall look and appeal of the movie. 

Begum Jaan could have been a lot more melodramatic than what it is actually. Vidaya Balan steals the show with her impeccable acting and looks. Dressed in flowing robes, eyes lined with kohl, puffing on a hookah, lording it over her ladies, pardon the pun, Balan plays a madam who runs a brothel, slam bang in the midst of all the action. Brothel was the focal point at the time of partition. And this has taken a special place in the entire movie. 

The movie has certain elements that might make you nostalgic of old days of Bollywood that were better when compared to this particular movie. The movie has a lot of scenes from brothel and how it works. There are scenes where it is shown how women are brought in brothel and how they are treated. The movie even depicts cruelty of people in power on the less privileged. 

The overall situation of the place is being monitored by two officials Kapur and Vidyarthi, who play, respectively, the Muslim and Hindu. However, no concrete action is taken by them in the movie. In fact, these two characters have been used to demark the differences between the two religions. Anyway, the method used to present the divide line is not really nice and a viewer might not be able to point that easily. 


The movie has at least one character that is total in synch with the jerky heightened silliness of the movie - my favourite Chunky Pandey (though not really favourite, but he is not bad to watch). He plays the role of a guy who has been hired to get rid of the pesky prostitutes : if they won’t go quietly, they will have to be forced out.

The plot of the movie turns into a serious allegory specially when we look at the tragedy and the cruel attitude of people with the power. The climax is LOUD. We are presented with ladies fighting, shooting, shouting without their leader who is the subject of the movie with a troubled trajectory.

Check out BEGUM JAAN Movie trailer below:

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