Rating: 3/5 Good

Begum Jaan Review

by Rajat Srivastav

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Is Vidya still looking for a hit or is she content delivering de-glam performance and author backed roles ? With that question I walked into the auditorium.

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Well it has an ensemble cast of known female actors like Ila Arun, Pallavi Sharda, Gauhar etc playing inmates of a brothel of a provincial town, which means this host of actors will get to do what has won countless Indian actors accolades before them-not wear make up and deliver expletives. But does ‘Begum Jaan’ really lives up to its promise? A Rajkahini remake, on the envelope it resembles Mandi ( more believable) and Mirch Masala (for the angst and struggle)

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First the weaker elements

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1. Flight or Fight - Firstly what is that enraging Motive to fight- why wouldn't they flee for an independence or a business elsewhere amidst raging political turmoil and riots and business would anyways suffer.

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2. Two actors Rajit Kapur and Ashish Vidyarthi an erstwhile Bhatt camper get footage for their own silo'ed not even a sub plot but to create an aura of partition and Indo-Pak. The backdrop doesn't connect much, though the performances are earnest. However both the characters are too weakly placed, plotted and portrayed.

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3. If the backdrop was partition, the scale is amiss but given the commercials and dynamics this limitation can be overlooked.

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4. The first half which doesn't yield too much !

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5. The baritone of Vidya which doesn't go well in the first half.

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6. And It's certainly not for the weaker stomachs...

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Having said all that there are some heavy duty moments in the movie , some make you smile , some make you scowl, some make you uncomfortable and some definitely will make most eyes moist. It's over the top at times but delivers bravura performances and hard hitting drama.

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The music is haunting and does play with the tale. Maybe ya because of Asha Bhosle. But Anu Mallik is in form in one or two renditions.

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Performances are good and so is the dialogue writing which doesn't go over the top. All of them are seen as a bunch of happy go lucky in the first half. Vidya Balan shows once again she doesn't need a male lead can steal any scene. The impact of the other ladies was fine could have been much better. All The rest of the support ; Chunky Pandey looks surprisingly menacing , Pitobash is amazing , Vivek Mushran does his act well and Naseeruddin Shah is brilliant too.

The director narrates a good story and the hard hitting second half salvages the movie for Vidya and him as it showcases our new tragedy queen !


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Begum Jaan review from other sources

BollywoodHungama 3/5

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.

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TimesOfIndia.com 3.5/5

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.

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NowRunning.com 2/5

Begum Jaan chronicles the life inside a whorehouse set in the middle of the India-Pakistan border. Unfortunately, Vidya Balan who plays the title role cannot save the hopelessly predictable plot. The film is such a terrible, bloated and tastelessly overdone copy of the Shabana Azmi starrer Mandi (1983).

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Rediff.com 2/5

Begum Jaan neglects to reveal its soul. As a consequence, you feel nothing for the characters, their cause or fate. Fuelled by stagy impulses till the end, its climatic crossfire is elaborate but of little value. The shabbily picturised sequence of women blindly firing into nowhere upholds Begum Jaan's flimsy, ill-defined rebellion where Mukherjee draws epic parallels to their resistance. It is as reckless as Radcliffe's.

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filmibeat.com 3/5

Begum Jaan isn't an easy watch. It makes you squirm at the double standards prevailing in the society. At the same time, it comforts you with a hope that 'woh subah kabhi toh aayegi'. Watch it for Vidya Balan whose piercing eyes and firebrand dialogues gives you ample of goosebump-inducing moments!

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NDTV 2.5/5

Is Begum Jaan, the fiery protag, in the same league as these women? Will she pass into cinema history? Vidya Balan could count this performance as another feather in her already overflowing cap, but the fire-spewing character that she plays is far too flappy to go down in the annals of Hindi cinema as an unforgettable screen heroine. She is phenomenally riveting no doubt, but the film that rests awkwardly on her shoulders is passable at best.

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BehindWoods.com 2.5/5

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. Begum Jaan will wake the man inside every woman!

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Begum Jaan

  • Srijit Mukherji
  • Mukesh Bhatt
    Vishesh Bhatt
  • Anu Malik
  • Gopi Bhagat
  • Monisha R Baldawa
    Vivek Mishra
  • Kausar Munir
    Srijit Mukherji
  • Srijit Mukherji
  • Vishesh Films
    PLAY Entertainment
  • Apr 14, 2017
  • Hindi