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Begum Jaan Movie Review: Vidya Balan holds fort and renders soul to this tear-jerking drama | PINKVILLA

【转载】作者:Delhi Entertainment News 2021-1-2
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Here is a detailed movie review of Vidya Balan starrer Begum Jaan.

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It’s no surprise that Vidya Balan is the soul of Begum Jaan, living up to the titular character with all her shades – arrogance, exuberance, grandeur. But sometimes, it’s not enough to rely solely on one actor to pull through a film. And in this case, a film that’s known and loved before. Srijit Mukherji’s Rajkahini was a far more refined work. Naturally, the director found himself closer to the ethos of Bengal and its history vis-à-vis the overtly exposed and filmed Partition tales from up North. The story loses its novelty in the adaptation. For those, who haven’t watched the original, this could be a film worth spending good money on unlike a few of recent remakes.

By Srijit’s own admission, the film is Manto meets Garam Hawa and gets a sprinkle of Tamas. What is striking is the way the plot is set – from the eyes of prostitutes who have no other identity except that. They are the most neutral facets of the big game. And thus, it is imperative the story is said with a distinct demeanor of balance. A whore house stands in the middle of India and Pakistan and its boisterous madame won’t give it up. On a script level, it’s a half-baked plot. Despite a considerable reworking, the film’s drama points don’t add up. While a movie of this tonality must ride on its star and leading lady, we could’ve hoped for a better context to the other girls in the house. Since Mukherji doesn’t waste much time in building them up, when havoc wreaks in their lives, it doesn’t impact us much. 

What really works, however, is how Vidya effortlessly slips into this character. She is boisterous, spewing venom but caring for her girls with a similar tenacity. Even while watching the original, it was hard to get to why they resort to guns but Mukherji evens out the odds in this one. The last frame is as glorious as you recollect, ending with the melancholic hint of optimism, ‘Yeh Subah Kabhi toh aayegi.” The only other actresses who leave an impact are Gauahar Khan and Pallavi Sharda, both holding their own in front of the majestic Balan.

A word of praise for the film’s cinematography which builds up the drama by creating the effective milieu. It’s shot dramatically with large shots of the haveli, capturing the morose and glee sans words. The music is a let down except for the piercing Azadiyaan which lingers. 

It all eventually boils down to whether Begum Jaan is watchable – most certainly it is. Why would you want to miss a roaring Balan in all her glory. The film has its share of issues but then it’s worth taking a step back and drawing parallels between 1947 and 2017. We are still fighting for space in a supposedly free nation. Was the freedom of 1947 a complete one? At least Begum Jaan has valid questions to ask. Entertainment, yes sure but some movies go beyond that. 

We rate the film a 60% on the Pinkvilla movie meter.

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