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Vidya's Begum Jaan punch turns powerless & over dramatic

By Bhakti Mehta

Cast - Vidya Balan, Naseeruddin Shah, Ila Arun, Gauahar Khan, Pallavi Sharda

Director - Srijit Mukherji

Rating - 2/5

What the film is about -

The film is set in the year 1947 and shows the atrocities that everyone faced during the time of the India-Pakistan partition. Begum Jaan a ferocious lady runs a brothel on the outskirts of Punjab where she treats all her girls with equal love, care and practicality. When a notice from the newly freed government comes that the border between India and Pakistan will be drawn through the brothel, Begum Jaan and her girls pull every string they have to save their house and when that doesn't work, they put up a fight. How they wage their war and whether they come out victorious or not is what the film takes you through.

What we think -

You know the phrase 'Don't judge a book by it's cover'? That doesn't apply this time around to Begum Jaan. The film is exactly what it seems in the trailer, dark, gory and several levels of overly-dramatic. The first half flies by quickly in the introduction of all the characters and the main conflict of the film. The second half is where all the not-so-fun things happen and that makes it uncomfortable at times to sit through.

With movies like The Dirty Picture amd Kahaani, Vidya Balan is known to be one of the pioneers of the women-centric wave in Bollywood. But her bold character and bolder dialogues went down several notches this time around with Begum Jaan. As she takes up the titular role here, we see her emit the usual strong performance that she is known for, but the thing that sets her apart from others in the previously mentioned films was missing. Nevertheless, we have to commend Vidya for giving all that she has to the punch lines of the film like 'Mahina gin na humein aata hai sahab'.

Talking about writing of the movie, lets bring director Srijit Mukherji into picture. He made a Bengali masterpiece called Rajkahini and then decided to recreate it in Hindi with Begum Jaan. While the debut Bollywood director took all the right steps with a powerhouse like Vidya on his side and the dumdaar dialogues, some of his visions just didn't work here. Like the fable theme background which was a little reaching and the arty shots of Rajit Kapoor and Ashish Vidyarthi that showed half their faces which just got annoying.

The supporting cast of Begum Jaan was quite huge and a mixed bag in itself. While veterans like Ila Arun and Naseeruddin Shah seemed to be wasted in their respective roles, Chunky Pandey suprises you by going from his last memorable act of 'Aakhri Pasta' to a ruthless, dirty gang leader. We see Gauahar Khan doing some very, VERY bold scenes that make you wonder how today's CBFC agreed to it, but her unnatural dialogue delivery cuts her performance at the knees. And then there is a relative newcomer like Pallavi Sharda who in the small screen time that she had, managed to do quite a decent job.

There are certain things that go in the pro column for Begum Jaan and those include the perfect locations, the right look of the characters and a melody crooned by Asha Bhosle. But with the over dramatic shouting and the pointless, cringe-worthy scenes that send a shiver down your spine, the movie just loses its women-centric meaning altogether till it reaches the end.

Our Verdict -

Vidya Balan fans should not miss the movie although there might be chances of disappointment. But otherwise, it's a long weekend folks, so if you don't want a film to impact you so bad that it stays woth you in NOT the right way, then give this one a miss this time.

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