BEGUM JAAN directed by Srijit Mukherji, starring Vidya Balan, Gauahar Khan, Pallavi Sharda, Ila Arun, Naseeruddin Shah, Rajit kapoor and Chunky Pandey. Begum Jaan shows the consequences of India and Pakistan partition and how it affects these women who are situated in the middle of the lining. Yet, this army of standing tall and confident women will not move their empire without a fight and stand their ground for what is rightfully their own.
- The main standout from Begum Jaan will have to be the dominance and portraying women as powerful, confident with the ability to protect what they cherish dearly. The concept is pretty obvious, these women are standing their ground and it was striking to not only show them verbally protecting themselves, but also battling with violence to stake their possession. The characters are vicious, bold, they never fail in not leaving a mark on screen.
- Script has powerful elements, but may not be visually present enough throughout. But such concept attracts impacting scenes at least and that is compliment by some fine dialogues. Many dialogues are a standout, they are affective and likeable. It adds distinction, the soul of such feisty encounters with verbal abuse and high level of tone in the dialogues being recited.
- As for the performances, they are sublime. Each cast member left a decent mark on screen. Vidya Balan manages to carry the weight of this film on her shoulders as she plays the main lead, the one who controls the brothel and sparks the rage within her girls to battle against those trying to partition it. Others put in a decent effort and overall as a viewer there is so much to see in this film visually. The actors have been characterised nicely for this action packed movie. You can not praise these battling women enough, they were fantastic in keeping your attention focused to the screen even when the script may let you down.
- The script concept is convincing but delivery of the screenplay is weak and needed to be complimenting the suspense and the build up that was created by the cast and the dialogues. The trailer and promos provided high expectations from this film but the outcome just did not live up to the prospects. There were several elements that could have been avoided and replaced more with what actually worked in the film. Also, so many characters involved, there was not enough screen time to depict each character’s past and suffering and reasons behind their character mentality. This needed to be juggled equally because the characters have vital significance of the action that transpires. The screenplay seemed as if it did not provide sufficient exposure to each character or at least developing their identities further as the film pays huge emphasises on the women and their purpose behind this drama.
- The editing certainly could have done with better implication and crisper finish to the movie. It felt as if some scenes were left hanging when transitioning to the next scene. The background scoring was decent but not intense enough for such film. With better scoring it would have built up much more drama when characters are not interacted vocally, but allowing their expressions do the talking.
- VIDYA BALAN – Plays a roaring owner of a brothel, Vidya sparks with a fiery and lively act. Delightful to watch as she manages to control the story as well as grasp audiences attention at all times. She has the ability to lure in tension even more, her expressions are perfect and you want to keep seeing her protecting what is hers as she stamps her authority in her empire in leading a rampage.
- GAUAHAR KHAN & PALLAVI SHARDA – Both with their own backstory, it allows them to grasp the viewers’ attention. The sheer emotions that arise from their expressions is fantastic to watch. They play second fiddle to Vidya, yet they do enough to add a substantial amount of influence to the movie. The anger that Gauahar Khan portrays was priceless, so realistic and attention grabbing. Pallavi Sharda is given a lesser role but soon she becomes just as good if not better with allowing her expressions to narrate what she is feeling.
- NASEERUDDIN SHAH – Small cameo with little room for development, he comes and goes in the same tone. He is almost forgotten with so much acting from other stars in the film.
- CHUNKY PANDEY – An interesting villain, was prominent to watch with his villain persona. His criminal behaviour and character appearance is fitting for what was shown, it added the darkness and for that Chunky Pandey needs to be applauded.
Overall, we rate BEGUM JAAN 2.5/5. Intense drama full of emotions but a weak script unable to help taking it to the finish line within the same tone throughout. Despite the faltering script, the film gives enough for the audiences to dwell on and admire with its hard-hitting dialogues and violence. But with all the good and likeable elements, if only this film transpired with better execution through the screenplay. It is striking and powerful with the visuals and performances but I would have appreciated a better script to maintain this interesting concept. At least it was pivotal in portraying good female solidarity in cinema but with so much promise, I was expecting a better written film in this explosive encounter.