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Begum Jaan Review: Vidya Balan with her women gang slams patriarchy right into its face

Another fiery performance by Vidya Balan...
Reshu Manglik New Delhi April 14, 2017 15:44 IST
Reshu Manglik
Begum Jaan is a Hindi remake of a popular Bengali film ‘Rajkahini’, which released in 2015. The story revolves around 11 valiant women who are forced into prostitution by their destiny. As India gains freedom, lives of these women are put at stake. 

Begum Jaan Review 

The very beginning of the movie will hit the right chords of your heart. It portrays a dramatic representation of the infamous 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape case, that will shake your conscience. With the first scene of the movie, the audience are convinced that Srijit Mukherji has brought some real stuff on the screens. 
But as the story unfolds, one thing that is felt amiss, is a strong screenplay. There are not one but many loopholes in the screenplay and cinematography. The audience will find themselves in commotion while connecting a preceding scene to the next. 
The cinematographer’s effort to capture the turmoil of Indo-Pak partition with their half-faced close ups didn’t go well with the audience. However, their conversations have left something to ponder among the viewers. 
The first half of the movie was sluggish and was on the verge of failing to hold the attention of the viewers. What changes the complete course of the movie is the second half, which is far more captivating and stirring than the first half itself. The tragic death of their Rubina’s (Gauhar Khan) love interest, Surjeet will surely leave a pinch behind in your heart. 

Another fiery performance by Vidya Balan

Coming to the acting skills, undoubtedly, all the eleven women are worth a mention here. Vidya has invested fully into the character of Begum Jaan, that one can compare Begum to a fearless Bengal Tigress, who can turn the entire world upside down to protect and nurture her own little world, that is her own ‘Kotha’. 
It is evident that Vidya Balan needed a powerful role like Begum Jaan after not-so-successful sequel of Kahaani. Unquestionably, she comes out in flying colours in the role of a brothel-owner and a prostitute. 
If we talk about the other characters of the movie, it won’t be an overstatement to say that the complete women cast bore the baggage of running the movie.
Chunky Pandey on the other hand, surprised the audience with his power-packed performance as the antagonist. It’s worth a mention here, that Kabir (Chunky Pandey) is one of the best villains that Bollywood has ever seen in the recent years. With a mere glimpse of this villainous persona, you’ll feel immense detestation for him. That’s where Chunky Pandey came out as a winner in Begum Jaan. The filmmakers could have used the veteran actor, Naseeruddin Shah in a better way. His short and lukewarm role in the movie disappointed the viewers. 
An analogy drawn by Srijit Mukherji in the film deserves a standing ovation for sure. A scene where Shabnam, the youngest member of the brother is being prepared for her first sexual encounter and on the other hand, the country is being cleaved to pieces by drawing the infamous ‘Radcliffe line’ leaves a lump behind in the throat. It’s a metaphorical representation of how a woman and the country has to suffer in the hands of few money-mongers and fundamentalists. 
69 years after the Independence, but the fate of the women remains at a standstill. The very first and the last scene of the movie poetically justifies the fact.