Cast: Vidya Balan, Ila Arun, Gauahar Khan, Pitobash Tripathy, Pallavi Sharda, Chunky Pandey, Ashish Vidyarthi, Rajit Kapoor and Naseeruddin Shah
Directed By: Srijit Mukherji
Many times many directors lose whatever they have to say in translation. Srijit Mukerji has won many National Awards but a Hindi adaptation of his own Bengali film is not the one to swear by. Begum Jaan is a Hindi remake of Rajkahini by the same director and it doesn’t really ring any bell. It’s all talk and no action which is disappointing. The film is based in a stretchy harem in the year we got our Independence and Begum Jaan’s kotha has to go because it falls in the middle of the line of divide between India and Pakistan. The film is nothing more than butchering of everything that has blood and flesh with the background music overpowering everything that moves.
Why the film doesn’t hit the bull’s eye is because the plot is disjointed on many levels so you cannot connect. At many places, it makes a fool of itself which doesn’t let you take the film seriously. History is proof that whenever on any given canvas we speak about the partition of India and Pakistan, things ought to get dramatic so when you gather yourself to watch a film that has taken a leaf from the same booklet, you wish, hope, pray and keep your fingers crossed that the director has restrained the performances so it doesn’t just become drama galore. Come on! You want to watch other elements in the film and you know it. One thing that will not let you take a lot of things seriously is everyone’s accent.
It is all over the place and you’re just sitting there counting how much popcorn is left in your tub. Rather than sticking to a valid point, it hovers around many things especially towards the end where everyone is running, screaming, shouting and you’re wondering as to what just happened. Trust me, too much noise to take. The climax just doesn’t work, not one bit, not at all. But I have to point out Chunkey Pandey as an evil villain which is the bitter most pill to swallow. His job is to clear the path of the officials who want to vacate Begum’s Kotha. Take a moment and think about this…. and come back. I’m waiting!
Honestly, Vidya Balan is a flawless actor but when she can’t control what’s happening around her, it breaks your heart. It’s not fair for an actor of that caliber. Overall, Begum Jaan is clunky at most places and Srijit has not been able to put the puzzle together, so it looks neither here nor there. It could have been impactful but somehow it just felt like a half-baked pie.
This review was first published on Filter Copy