When it comes to remakes many Bollywood films have left their mark like their original counterparts. Srijit Mukherji made his Bollywood debut with the film 'Begum Jaan,' a remake of his own Bengali film 'Rajkahini' which ruled at the box office during and after its release. A totally women centric film with a large squad of women fighting for justice.
Based on the partition era, the film revolves around the story of Begum Jaan (Vidya Balan) whose brothel stands tall in the midst of the border of India and Pakistan from where the Radcliffe line is to be drawn. Begum Jaan as the madam of the brothel, a childhood widow, rather sharp tongued hookah snorting woman who rules the brothel with her authoritarian air. From Gujarati to Punjabi she has taken every girl under her wings despite of their different religion, caste or creed. Everything is hunky dory in her brothel as she is the king's (Naseeruddin Shah) right hand who helps her everytime and in every possible way till the time an eviction notice knocks her door. The Radcliffe line which divides the two princely countries India and Pakistan creates a stir in her brothel. There starts the journey of madam and her women squad to save their home. It becomes the fight not only between two nations, but between two genders.
Vidya Balan as Begum Jaan nails it with her raunchy dialogue delivery and her fierce authoritarian style. Vidya's completely never seen before avatar deserves an applaud. Her efforts to recreate Begum Jaan has been paid off for sure. Gauahar Khan and Pitabosh Tripathi play the perfect partners. While the other girls did not enjoy much role apart from coming together in songs. Chunky Pandey is the ultimate baddie and his acting gives you goosebumps while watching the film. His character will leave a mark in your mind for some period of time. Ashish Vidhyarthi and Rajit Kapur represent the officials of India and Pakistan respectively and had done their part well.
Coming to Srijit Mukherji's execution, the director has been successful in recreating the partition wrap. Though the grandma reciting stories and Vidya depicting the same in animations seems a bit off-beat. The cinematography is quiet praiseworthy and the screenplay goes on the right track. The songs 'Aazadiyaan', 'Prem Mein Tohre' and 'O Re Kaaharo' play at the right time and merge with film very well. 'Woh Subah' plays the perfect ending to the film.
Overall it's a good film to watch with ferocious acting by Vidya, stellar performances of the other starcast, perfect direction and a musical treat by the legendary singers, but definitely not meant for timid hearted people. So all you brave hearts don't just sit at home this weekend, but make your way to the theatres to witness the partition era again. Just don't give this a miss!!!