Vidya Balan changed her path as an actress and shifted her base from commercial cinema to meaningful realistic films. Her choice of films kept growing her as an actress and managed to make her own space in Hindi cinema. One cannot forget some of her path-breaking performances in films like 'The Dirty Picture', 'Kahaani', 'Ishqiya' and many more.
'Begum Jaan' seems to be another power packed film starring Vidya Balan. The trailer and success of its original Bengali film have managed to raise a good amount of expectations among all those who love good cinema.
'Begum Jaan' is a story set post Indian independence. It's a story of a brothel which is run by Begum Jaan (Vidya Balan), who is known for her aggressive and independent behavior. All the prostitutes (Gauahar Khan, Pallavi Sharda, Priyanka Setia, Flora Saini, Ridheema Tiwary, Indrani Chakraborty and others) in that brothel are protected and taken care by Begum Jaan in a love and hate type of relationship.
One day two big officers (Ashish Vidyarthi and Rajit Kapoor) from Indian and Pakistan government comes up with an official order stating that the border line of India-Pakistan has to go through Begum Jaan’s brothel. She and her associates will have to vacate the brothel as a check post is planned at the same place. This infuriates Begum Jaan as she decides not to vacate her place and this leads to series of chained events.
There are some scenes which are one of the boldest, finest and hard-hitting scenes seen in our Hindi cinema. These scenes on their own are far ahead than the whole screenplay and the treatment of the film. Dialogues are bold and powerful. The historic tales related to Vidya are visually appealing.
The 'Glitz' Factor
The story is interesting and has strong layers attached to it. The whole set up of the movie is unique and different.The movie begins with the enchanting voice of Amitabh Bachchan trying to establish the plot and the scenario.
There are many fantastic scenes related to fine performances by Vidya, Pallavi, Gauhar and Chunky Pandey.
The music by Anu Malik is something different and has a few great songs. 'Prem Mein Tohre' by Asha Bhosle and later by Kavita Seth is mesmerizing. 'Aazaadiyan' by Sonu Nigam and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan followed by a recreated version of 'Woh Subah' by Arijit and Shreya are melodious and goes well with the flow of the film.
Director Srijit Mukherji comes up with a bold, daring and power packed performance based film. He highly succeeds in extracting some fine performance from his lead actors.
Vidya Balan gives one more outstanding performance. The rage and the caring in her face enhances her character. Gauahar Khan has a small role, but in a couple of scenes she displays her fine performance with total ease. Pallavi Sharda looks pretty and delivers a good performance. Chunky Pandey looks menacing and gets his villainous role perfectly. Pitobash Tripathy is good in his part.Ila Arun, Priyanka Setia, Ridheema Tiwary, Flora Saini, Raviza Chauhan, Poonam Rajput, Indrani Chakraborty, Gracy Goswami and Sumit Nijhawan lends good support.
The 'Non-Glitz' Factor
The great scenes portrays us the potential 'Begum Jaan' movie could have had if only the screenplay was in its right place. The first half is totally cluttered with many abrupt and unwanted scenes. The writers try hard to establish the details related to Vidya and her associates, but fails miserably due to unwanted tracks and super lengthy scenes between Ashish and Rajit. The whole connect with these characters is missing as the writers fail to enhance their characters. Ashish and Rajit conversational scenes are badly shot and seems repetitive after a while.
Vivek Mushran's track was unwanted and failed to connect with the screenplay of the film. The finale fight is engaging as well as entertaining. It's just that the culmination in the end ruins everything as the whole point of the film seemed diluted. It's like everything is happening, but without any connect or right purpose. You can feel the misery or pain of some characters, but cannot connect at all with the whole plot of the film.
None of the actions in the movie are justified nor convincing. The stripping scene by the small girl might shock you, but at the same time wonder about its placement. There are many abrupt scenes which are wrongly placed in the movie. The cinematography is not that great and at times seemed a bit tacky. Background music is jarring.It’s just that the weak writing and lack of connectivity ruins the impact of the film.
'Rajkahini' was a longer film in comparison to 'Begum Jaan' but has right ingredients required for this film. In order to shorten the film, the whole charm of the movie goes missing. The movie could have been a great film, if only the screenplay and narrative was in its right place.
Ashish Vidhayarthi and Rajit Kapoor have a meaty role which gets diluted in the second half. Vivek Mushran and Naseeruddin Shah are wasted. Rajesh Sharma hams to the fullest.
'Begum Jaan' is like a rich kingdom without its loyal subjects as the good performances deserves to be cherished but at the same time could be avoided due to bad technicalities.