One of the much-awaited release of the month 'Begum Jaan' saw the light of the day on Friday with some wonderful star cast naming our 'Dirty-Girl' Vidya Balan playing the character firmly, who perhaps is perfection as Begum. Yes, the 'madam' of brothel, who got into the skin of the character and yet delivered another memorable performance. Gauahar Khan, who after her a no-nonsense cop avatar in 'Badrinath Ki Dulhania' showcased herself as a real sex worker with a such a power pack performance.Surprisingly, Pallavi who was last seen in 'Besharam' and 'Hawaaizaada' didn't receive much appreciation but she has hit the screen with a bang this time. With a strong screen presence of Vidya Balan, Pallavi has still managed to roar over the scene.
The remaining cast naming Ila Arun, Ashish Vidyarthi, Chunkey Pandey, Rajit Kapur, Pitobash, Vivek Mushran has supported the character of Begum Jaan to the core including Naseeruddin Shah who played the Nizam, seems elegant.
Director Srijit Mukherji, who originally made the movie in Bengali named 'Rajkahini' starring Rituparna Sengupta, has managed to recreate the scene for the Hindi audiences as well and has been the 'Captain of the Ship' truely.
Talking about the plot, in short, Begum Jaan is set in the backdrop of independence. The chairman of the Border Commission, Sir Cyril Radcliffe decides to divide India and Pakistan into equitable halves. What the administration doesn’t account for is the line running through the middle of Begum Jaan’s(Vidya Balan) brothel situated plonk on the border; with one-half falling in India and the other in Pakistan.
Movie has dealt with a lot of drama and thrill. Some scenes might take you up to the notch and then drop you down when you least expect. Despite the shortcomings, Begum Jaan, indeed gains one-time watch for the audiences, with a hard-hitting narrative and magnificent performances.
Let's see what others have to say:
Times Of India: It’s a good period and story to revisit because even 70-years after Partition, anything around it still piques interest. Then again, here the narrative deals less with the horror of the divide and serves more as an ode to the spiritedness of Begum; widowed in her childhood and sold to a brothel. Also, Mukherji is revisiting his Bengali film Rajkahini(2015).Vidya invests fully in Begum and her dialogue-baazi (a lot of which is raunchy) will get seetis. However, the writer director's interest level in everything else falters.The Holi number is peppy with striking visuals. Otherwise having the 11 women in one frame becomes nothing but a screech-fest. Having Vidya in a film is an asset though. She is an audacious actor, who merits an extra half star for her ability to shoulder a film.
Taran Adarsh: Srijit's execution of the material is top notch, no two opinions on that. He's an accomplished storyteller and a number of dramatic sequences cement this fact. Having said that, Srijit, the director is far more in command than Srijit, the writer here. The songs are well punctuated in the narrative, with 'Prem Mein Tohre' [rendered by Asha Bhosle and tuned by Anu Malik] being the pick of the lot. Cinematography [DoP: Gopi Bhagat] captures the mood of the film well. Dialogue are bold, gritty and acidic and enhance a number of dramatic sequences considerably.On the whole, BEGUM JAAN has curiosity value and shock-value, both. Despite minor hiccups, BEGUM JAAN is a compelling watch with a hard-hitting narrative and bravura performances as its USPs. The moderate costing of the film should also ensure smooth sailing for its investors.
First Post: The dialogues are strong, painful and riveting. While all of these are beautifully done, and the performances are the biggest highlights, the problem for the viewer by the end of the first half is the different layers to the story, all going on concurrently, and the way they've been put together. It seems a tad abrupt, but this is not that huge of an issue. In fact, it may even add to the 'feel' of the film.
Indian Express: The story of the bloody birth of India and Pakistan is so inherently full of drama that any telling of any part of it needs a great deal of skilled restraint. That crucial thing is thrown to the winds in Begum Jaan, based on Rajkahini, Srijit Mukherji’s Bengali film. A plot that could have turned into a powerful allegory – you divide people at your peril, for no lasting gains – is run aground. And the climax is full of fire and faux brimstone and lots of speechifying, the ladies of easy virtue becoming a gun-toting ‘fauj’, before invoking a certain Rajasthani ‘rani’ who currently is the subject of a film with a troubled trajectory.Such a waste of a talented bunch of actors. And of Balan, who tries hard to invest some feeling into a role which turns into a cliché the moment the film opens.