|Directed by||Srijit Mukherji|
|Written by||Kausar Munir (Dialogue)|
|Story by||Sumair Malik|
by Srijit Mukherji
Vidya Balan |
|Narrated by||Amitabh Bachchan|
Monisha R. Baldawa|
|Distributed by||White Hill Studio|
|Box office||₹30.49 crore|
Begum Jaan (English: Mistress Begum) is a 2017 Indian Hindi period drama film. It is written and directed by National Film Award-winning director Srijit Mukherji and produced by Mukesh Bhatt, Vishesh Bhatt and Play Entertainment. The film is co-produced by Sakshi Bhatt and Shree Venkatesh Films with executive producer Kumkum Saigal. The cinematography is done by Gopi Bhagat. Lyrics, additional screenplay and dialogues have been penned by Kausar Munir and Rahat Indori.
The film was released on 14 April 2017. Vidya Balan plays the lead role of a brothel's madam, set in the backdrop of late Indian Independence period of 1948. It is a Hindi remake of the critically acclaimed Bengali film Rajkahini (2015). The film managed to recover its costs and became an average grosser.
In August 1947, after India sought independence from the British, the Last Viceroy of India, Mountbatten gave Cyril Radcliffe, the responsibility of dividing India into two parts - India and Pakistan. Radcliffe drew two lines - one in Punjab and another one in Bengal. This line was known as the Radcliffe Line.
Begum Jaan (Vidya Balan) is a prostitute who runs a brothel between the cities of Sakkergarh and Dorangla. The prostitutes in Begum Jaan's brothel are a number of girls she raised herself, who were either abandoned or disowned by their families and now work for her. The members of the brothel include an elderly woman known as Amma (Ila Arun), Sujeet (Pitobash Tripathy), a local worker who brings her customers and Salim (Sumit Nijhawan), a gunman who guards them and also two dogs. They are pestered by government officers Hari Prasad (Ashish Vidyarthi), Iliyas Khan (Rajit Kapoor) and Inspector Shyam Singh (Rajesh Sharma) who visit her and ask all of the residents to evict the brothel, as it lies on the land that the Radcliffe Line is to pass through. Love is shown to blossom between Sujeet and Rubina (Gauhar Khan). Begum Jaan's brothel is looked after by Raja Saab (Naseeruddin Shah), under whose protection, they are safe and sound. He pays their taxes and duties. Begum Jaan sends message to him for his help in this matter. He arrives at the brothel with gifts and presents for them and after hearing about their plight, he assures them of help by stating that he would be going to Delhi soon and discuss the matter there. However, he demands to spend the night with young Shabnam (Mishti Chakraborty), who had recently joined the brothel as a mental wreck after abuse. Begum Jaan reluctantly forces Shabnam to sleep with Raja Saab while she sings in the sidelines as he enjoys his night.
After several failed attempts to convince Begum Jaan and her team to leave despite giving them a month's notice, as a last resort, Hari and Iliyas, enlist the help of Kabir (Chunky Pandey), an infamous killer in Sonapur, to threaten Begum with her members to vacate the brothel. Raja Saab returns to the brothel one day to inform Begum Jaan that his efforts to save her brothel have failed and now she must vacate the brothel. Begum, who was having hopes from Raja Saab is shocked in dismay. Still, she stubbornly tells Raja Saab come what may, she'll rather die in her house like a queen than die on the streets like a beggar. Kabir proceeds to kill Begum's beloved dogs, even feeding their meat to Begum and her girls. He then kills Sujeet while he is returning from the market with a few other girls of the brothel. He persuades the girls to escape while sacrificing his life. This killing enrages Begum Jaan and her members further. As a result of Kabir's intimidation tactics, Begum asks Salim to train every one of her girls to use weapons and fight back. Intensive training practice sessions are held.
Meanwhile, Masterji (Vivek Mushran), Laadli's teacher, is in love with Begum Jaan and proposes to her, unaware that another prostitute named Gulabo (Pallavi Sharda), harbors feelings for him as well. Begum Jaan rejects his proposal and asks him to leave, leading an irate Master to concoct a plan to kill her. He convinces Gulabo to run away from the brothel, betraying Begum Jaan. Gulabo does so but Masterji spurns her and gets her raped by his accomplices inside a horse carriage. She vows vengeance.
That same night, Kabir and his men attack the brothel. Begum and the girls fight back but to no avail. Gulabo returns and later slits Masterji's throat, while he is witnessing the attack on the brothel by Kabir and his goons. However, she has been badly assaulted by Masterji's accomplices and dies. The goons throw lighted torches inside the brothel, causing the building to be engulfed in flames. Begum Jaan and her girls put up a determined fight. Many are killed. She and her four surviving members smile while looking at their home being set ablaze; they walk inside the building and shut the doors. They burn to death as Amma narrates the story of Rani Padmavati of Chittorgarh, who refused to fall into the hands of the enemy and instead martyred herself and died a valiant death, just like the plight of Begum Jaan.
As the movie ends, Illiyas, Hari Prasad and Shyam Singh are seen to be remorseful of their actions; Illiyas shoots himself and we are shown the remains of the brothel and the end to Begum Jaan's legacy.
- Vidya Balan as Begum Jaan
- Ila Arun as Amma
- Gauhar Khan as Rubina
- Pallavi Sharda as Gulabo
- Priyanka Setia as Jameela
- Ridheema Tiwary as Amba
- Flora Saini as Maina
- Raviza Chauhan as Lata
- Poonam Rajput as Rani
- Mishti Chakraborty as Shabnam
- Gracy Goswami as Laadli
- Pitobash Tripathy as Surjeet
- Sumit Nijhawan as Salim
- Ashish Vidyarthi as Hari Prasad
- Chunky Pandey as Kabir
- Rajit Kapoor as Ilias Khan
- Vivek Mushran as Master ji
- Rajesh Sharma as Shyam
- Naseeruddin Shah as Raja saab
- Ashok Dhanuka as Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
- Sanjay Gurbaxani as Jawaharlal Nehru
- Dicky Banerjee as Muhammad Ali Jinnah
- Patrick Eyre as Louis Mountbatten
- Steve Burroughs as Hastings Ismay
- Raja Biswas as Cyril Radcliffe
- Dilip Dave as an old customer of Gulabo
|Actor||Character in Begum Jaan||Actor/ Character in Rajkahini|
|Vidya Balan||Begum Jaan||Rituparna Sengupta|
|Gauahar Khan||Rubina||Joya Ahsan|
|Pallavi Sharda||Gulabo||Parno Mittra (Golap)|
|Sumit Nijhawan||Salim Mirza||Nigel Akkara|
|Vivek Mushran||Master||Abir Chatterjee|
|Ashish Vidyarthi||Hari Prasad||Saswata Chatterjee (Prafulla Sen)|
|Rajit Kapoor||Iliyas Khan||Kaushik Sen (Muhammad Ilyas)|
|Chunkey Pandey||Kabir||Jisshu Sengupta|
|Naseeruddin Shah||Raja Saab||Rajatava Dutta (Nawab)|
|Ila Arun||Amma||Lily Chakravarty|
This film is the remake of a Bengali film, Rajkahini, which was released in 2015. Principal photography of the film began in June 2016 and was completed in August 2016 in Ranishwar block of Dumka district in Jharkhand.
|Soundtrack album by Anu Malik|
|Released||7 April 2017|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|Anu Malik chronology|
The music for the film is composed by Anu Malik and Kausar Munir has written the lyrics for songs. The soundtrack was released by Times Music. Prem Mein Tohre, sung by Asha Bhosle, was launched on 14 February 2017 to high praise. For the second song, Aazaadiyan brought together Sonu Nigam and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. The full music album was released on 6 April 2017. On 9 April 2017, the sixth song of this album, "Woh Subah" was released. This song is a recreated version of the song "Woh Subah Kabhi To Aayegi" from the 1958 Bollywood movie, Phir Subah Hogi, composed by Khayyam and written by Sahir Ludhiyanvi. The original song was voiced by Mukesh and Asha Bhosle, while the new version had the voices of Arijit Singh and Shreya Ghoshal. On 12 April 2017, the last song of this album, "Murshida", was released as a "bonus track". This song is penned by Rahat Indori and sung by Arijit Singh.
|1.||"Prem Mein Tohre"||Asha Bhosle||3:58|
|2.||"Aazaadiyan"||Sonu Nigam, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan||6:41|
|3.||"O Re Kaharo"||Kalpana Patowary, Altamash Faridi||5:48|
|4.||"Holi Khelein"||Shreya Ghoshal, Anmol Malik||6:03|
|5.||"Prem Mein Tohre (Reprise)"||Kavita Seth||3:58|
|6.||"Woh Subah"||Arijit Singh, Shreya Ghoshal||4:15|
The first look of the movie introducing Vidya Balan as Begum Jaan was launched on 3 March 2017. The second poster of the movie was launched on 14 April 2017. The trailer of the movie was launched on 14 March 2017 to much critical and commercial acclaim. The trailer crossed 20 million views on Facebook and YouTube within a weeks time.
Meena Iyer of The Times of India gave the film a rating of 3.5 out of 5 and said that, "Vidya invests fully in Begum and her dialogue-baazi (a lot of which is raunchy) will get ceetis (whistles). However, the writer-director’s interest level in everything else, falters." Rohit Vats of the Hindustan Times gave the film a rating of 2.5 out of 5 saying that, "The 134-minute long Begum Jaan has Vidya Balan in good form, but it lacks cohesiveness as a complete story. It shies away from delving deep into the theme, but you may appreciate its documentary-like feel." Raja Sen of NDTV gave the film a rating of 1 out of 5 and said that, "It is very difficult to take the highly cheesy Begum Jaan seriously, and the film squanders the talent of Vidya Balan". Namrata Joshi of The Hindu criticized the film saying that, "Each scene feels consciously staged than unprompted and the flow from one sequence to the next is perennially jerky leading to way too much chaos on- screen." Rajeev Masand of News18 gave the film a rating of 2 out of 5 saying that, "The film has an interesting premise and Vidya is commanding as the feared brothel owner who lords over her home. What lets it down is the shrill treatment." Rajyasree Sen of Live Mint criticized the film saying that, "Srijit Mukherji's magnum opus 'Begum Jaan' is an utter travesty to feminism, cinema and female actors in the Hindi film industry".
Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express gave the film a rating of 1.5 out of 5 and said that, "Such a waste of a talented bunch of actors. And of Balan, who tries hard to invest some feeling into a role which turns into a cliché the moment the film opens." Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV praised the performance of Vidya Balan saying that, "Vidya Balan could count this performance as another feather in her already overflowing cap" but found the film to be "passable at best". The critic gave the film a rating of 2.5 out of 5 and said that, "A potentially explosive idea lost in banshee-like shrillness, rapid-fire storytelling and much volatility triggered by a collision of history and hysteria: that in a nutshell is Begum Jaan". Sukanya Verma of Rediff criticized the film saying that, "Full of histrionics and misandry, Begum Jaan shows little understanding of the trauma and impasse afflicting those in its grip." The critic gave the film a rating of 2 out of 5 and concluded her review by saying that, "In its preoccupation with drama, Begum Jaan neglects to reveal its soul. As a consequence, you feel nothing for the characters, their cause or fate." Suhani Singh of India Today criticized the film saying that, "Begum Jaan for all its good intent is a misfire of epic proportions."
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