Prelude :
Why was Srijit da’s RajKhani remade in the first place ? Srijit da has better films to be remade into a Bollywood film such as ‘Hemlock Society'( A Marathi Remake is already made), Chotuskone etc..Why Rajkahini ?
Our very own pride of Bengal National Award Winner Mr Srijit Mukherjee has delivered five hits in five years, he is undoubtedly an articulate, well-informed and has a knack of choosing unusual subjects for all his films and unfortunatley ‘Rajkahini’ was not his best and had failed to deliver.
Anyway since Vidya Balan was a part of this film, I wanted to give it a try today..considering it to be a ‘Good Friday”

Plot :
The film talks about a community of eleven women living in Begum Jaan’s brothel against the male domination of two emerging states. With a strong personality and a magnetic presence Begum Jaan, played by Bollywood cinema’s veteran Vidya Balan, singlehandedly manages a group of eight young women—one of whom has a daughter—and an elderly lady, amma (Illa Arun).
These 11 women come from diverse backgrounds: they are of both upper and lower castes, of both Hindu and Muslim faith, but most importantly, the connection and community they share comes from a shared history of past trauma and violence. They’re on the fringes of society, and have been abandoned by their respective families, and all they have is each other.
Also living with them are two men: the pimp Surjeet (Pitobash Tripathy) and the guard Salim . Another, a man called “Master,(Vivek Musharan) regularly comes to visit with educational materials for the little girl.

When the agents of Partition threaten to tear down Begum Jaan’s brothel, she and the other prostitutes retaliate with all they have, earning the respect of the very men who see them as nothing more than objects of pleasure.

begumjaan003

Technical

Rajkahini is one of those films that demands attention no doubt — despite some obvious flaws.
Right from the splendid visuals, and the courage to bring a dark phase of India’s history back to life and composing each frame with some emotion rooted in some form of injustice, each injustice ultimately linked to a man-dominated world.
Very nicely the film manages to point out the basic difference between a man and a woman, which is non-comparable.
Though Shyam Benegal’s Mandi (1983), had a similar premise with Shabana Azmi as a madam reigning over gaggle of sex workers,

The first scene of the film which begins in present day Delhi where a couple is chased by a bunch of drunkards in a deserted CP. An old woman comes to their rescue seems unecessary and forced.

Begum Jaan ultimately fails because of its flawed screenplay. The timelapse and the story suffers from pacing problem.
The climax is dragged and loud.
There is not much change in the hindi version compared to the original film.

The intension and the plot was good, but the screenplay could have been better and tighter.

The camera work by Gopi Bhagat was okay..In few places the shaky camera movement didn’t quite work for me and especially the ‘half profile’ framing looked odd in few scenes.

Music :

Anu Malik music was average but it quite blended with the narration.

Performances :

As for the performances — be it Rajit Kapoor or Ashish Vidyarthi, who play two friends who find themselves on opposite sides of the border, the small-town cop played by Rajesh Sharama, the pimp with a heart played by Pitobash Tripathy or the ruthless contract killer played by Chunky Pandey — all shine in their well etched-out roles.
Ashish Vidyarthi and Rajit Kapoor have shown the turmoil brewing inside two friends who have seen the worst of Hindu-Muslim riots and are faced with the task of uprooting Begum Jaan from her queen-dom.But Chunky Pandey is a revelation, It’s not just his physical transformation for the role, but the way he has gone about changing his entire persona .
Great job done by Gauhar Khan, Pallavi Sharda Ridhyma M Tiwaare and ofcoz our very own Vidya Balan who nails it once again.

Overall :

You can go ahead and give it a try for Vidya Balan…she never fails to impress-)-)

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