Leaving Bengal, moon-eyed with a copious array of mindful films, Srijit Mukherji passes the gates of Bollywood, donning his director's cap. With the official remake of his critically acclaimed Bengali film Rajkahini
(2015), Begum Jaan
in hand, the versatile Vidya Balan
aboard, and produced jointly by Vishesh Films and Play Entertainment, we at BollyCurry surely await a roller coaster ride.
Hit the play button and you get thrown back in time, with a cautious yet powerful narration of the events that led to the partition and the aftermath through the eyes of a less fortunate, detested and despised section of the dispersed society. In a gist, the story attempts to showcase the heart-wrenching yet valorous tale of a sex worker and her associates leading a rebellion against the tyrant government officials and the proposed partition. The only reason for the same was that, the line that was drawn to divide rested in the middle of their residence; somewhere where they felt wanted and home-like but it was imperative that they vacated it.
In a pivotal scene that stands out amidst a dozen others is Rajaji (Naseeruddin Shah
) threatening Begum Jaan (Balan) and warning her of a vulnerable and difficult death. The undying spark of self esteem is elaborately evident in Begum's eyes as she proudly proclaims that she won't die a worthless, penniless beggar, rather she would die a queen in her royal palace, come what may!
We are left to wonder at how naturally Balan steps into the shoes of the titular character, reminding us of her The Dirty Picture
stint. She literally owns the trailer, though the others fit in their roles with finesse, as well. Gauhar Khan essaying Rubina is notable, pulling off her role with ease and conviction, although her visibility therein is scarce. Chunky Pandey
, as Kabir, is equally compelling despite taking up an all new negative avatar. Shah is phenomenal as always. Pallavi Sharda
, as Gulabo, carries herself with great ease; and it was mentioned that Ila Arun also plays a crucial character in the movie. The undaunted, well calculated and robust dialogues and their delivery is definitely an asset that keeps us hooked.
Among the exaggerated scenes are several short and well-timed glimpses of the life in a brothel. While the dark is quite hushed it is nonetheless well depicted. There is also the yearning of the prostitutes to be able to live a revered life as they strive to indulge in delicate, low-key festivities of their own, in the belief that not just bare bodies, but even hearts hold value, something that tethered them to their house. While the women refused to celebrate the nation's independence, they won't have their home snatched away because that was their equivalent of a motherland. The writer cleverly applies this as a synecdoche to the National movement. Thus begins the fight, the strife of freedom with independence, the battle of the women to safeguard their mother, their honour, that would have been long lost hadn't their self respect interfered. The visuals surrounding the clash that ensued are disturbing, but surely makes us look up to the courage and bravery these women upheld and at the same time, pondering how it proceeds, has us all on the edge of our seats.
Overall, at several places in the trailer, goose bumps are bound to make an appearance. The setting is convincing, rustic, archaic, and Gopi Bhagat's cinematography is invariably laudable. The trailer gives you an insight into the poor man's misery that followed the atrocious partition. The section of the society that is touched is dark and serves as a reality check as you see the harsh trails life has to offer. Nonetheless, hope, self-respect and pride are never out of picture and patriotism is an ulterior message, yet is not.
Having intrigued us with several stellar performances and an intense and gripping storyline, we wish team Begum Jaan luck and their rightful portion of intellectual viewership. We are surely looking forward to catching up on this one in theatres on April 14th. We hereby suggest that the trailer is a must watch for sure, rating it at a 4 out of 5 stars.
Writer: Ramya K.
Editors: Juju K. and Mohini N.
Graphics: Kriti A.
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