What is it about?
A brothel run by Vidya Balan (Begum Jaan) along with few other sex workers. Each of these sex workers has a dark story in their past which has led them to choose this profession. The movie speaks how freedom is biased only towards men and not to women in our society. The central theme of the film is the struggle Begum Jaan carries to stay in her palace and not give away to the law who wants to demolish and build an Indo-Pak check post.
What makes up the film?
Begum Jaan is a remake of Rajkahini, but director Srijit Mukherji has only retained the theme of the story and brought about changes in screenplay and dialogues that are tailor-made for Vidya Balan. Begum Jaan is set soon after India's Independence on the Punjab-Pakistan border. It showcases the problems and after effects of Sir Cyril Radcliffe line which divided the nation into three parts; East Pakistan, West Pakistan, and Hindustan.
What doesn't work?
Begum Jaan becomes too predictable from the start, and this story is nothing new apart from a few emotional connect which has worked well. The weak screenplay is a major drawback of the film, which lets the engagement down among the audiences. It has too many stories from different characters, and none of those stories has a strong impact. The director seemed to have believed in bringing quantities and not qualities.
Vidya Balan is the show stealer who carries the film on her shoulder, though this isn't surprising for anybody as we have seen Vidya Balan doing the same in her previous films too. But Begum Jaan will undoubtedly remain one of her best performances mainly for her boldness and her realistic dialogues. Apart from Vidya Balan, Chunky Pandey, Pallavi Sharda, Gauahar Khan have delivered an equally good performance which becomes a must watch for them if not for the storyline. The climax of the film has worked well, portrays the powerfulness of the pain that reflects in fighting for their freedom.
Begum Jaan is filled with powerful dialogues and boldness that are inspirational. It is nothing but an old wine in a new bottle. Vidya Balan's fans would love to receive such performance from her time and again.