Begum Jaan

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Begum Jaan
Begum Jaan.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Srijit Mukherji
Produced by Mukesh Bhatt
Vishesh Bhatt
Written by Kausar Munir (Dialogue)
Screenplay by Srijit Mukherji
Kausar Munir
Story by Sumair Malik
Based on Rajkahini (2015)
by Srijit Mukherji
Starring Vidya Balan
Ila Arun
Naseeruddin Shah
Rajit Kapoor
Ashish Vidyarthi
Vivek Mushran
Chunky Pandey
Gauahar Khan
Pallavi Sharda
Mishti
Narrated by Amitabh Bachchan
Music by Original Songs
Anu Malik
Original Score
Indraadip Dasgupta
Cinematography Gopi Bhagat
Edited by Monisha R. Baldawa
Vivek Mishra
Production
company
Distributed by

Shree Venkatesh Films

White Hill Studio
Release date
  • 14 April 2017 (2017-04-14)
Running time
127 minutes
Country India
Language Hindi
Budget 19 crore[1]
Box office 30.49 crore[2]

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.[3] 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.

Plot[edit]

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.

Cast[edit]

Characters[edit]

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

Production[edit]

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.[9][10]

Soundtrack[edit]

Begum Jaan
Soundtrack album by Anu Malik
Released 7 April 2017 (2017-April-07)[11]
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Length 26:29
Language Hindi
Label Times Music
Anu Malik chronology
Shubh Mangal Savdhan
(2017)
Begum Jaan
(2017)
External audio
Audio Jukebox on YouTube

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.[12] For the second song, Aazaadiyan brought together Sonu Nigam and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.[13] 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".[14] This song is penned by Rahat Indori and sung by Arijit Singh.

All lyrics written by Kausar Munir; all music composed by Anu Malik.

No.TitleSinger(s)Length
1."Prem Mein Tohre"Asha Bhosle3:58
2."Aazaadiyan"Sonu Nigam, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan6:41
3."O Re Kaharo"Kalpana Patowary, Altamash Faridi5:48
4."Holi Khelein"Shreya Ghoshal, Anmol Malik6:03
5."Prem Mein Tohre (Reprise)"Kavita Seth3:58
6."Woh Subah"Arijit Singh, Shreya Ghoshal4:15
7."Murshida"Arijit Singh5:25
Total length:36:08

Marketing[edit]

The first look of the movie introducing Vidya Balan as Begum Jaan was launched on 3 March 2017.[15] The second poster of the movie was launched on 14 April 2017.[16] The trailer of the movie was launched on 14 March 2017 to much critical and commercial acclaim.[17] The trailer crossed 20 million views on Facebook and YouTube within a weeks time.[18]

Reception[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 20%, based on 5 reviews with an average rating of 5.7/10.[19]

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."[20] 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."[21] 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".[22] 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."[23] 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."[24] 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".[25]

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."[26] 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".[27] 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."[28] Suhani Singh of India Today criticized the film saying that, "Begum Jaan for all its good intent is a misfire of epic proportions."[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Begum Jaan". Box Office India. Retrieved 12 July 2018. 
  2. ^ Bollywood Hungama News Network (15 April 2017). "Box Office: Worldwide collections and day wise break up of Begum Jaan". Bollywood Hungama. Hungama Digital Media Entetainment. Retrieved 12 July 2018. 
  3. ^ Ray, Dhritiman (14 April 2016). "Mahesh Bhatt's Rajkahini remake being shot in Jharkhand". The Times of India. The Times Group. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  4. ^ TNN (13 July 2018). "Movies to look forward to". The Times of India. The Times Group. Retrieved 14 April 2017. 
  5. ^ Tiwari, Soumya Vajpayee (14 February 2017). "Ila Arun: Like acting a bit more than singing". Mid-Day. Mid-Day Infomedia. Retrieved 14 April 2017. 
  6. ^ IANS (11 July 2016). "Gauhar Khan preparing for sex worker's role in Begum Jaan, remake of Bengali film Rajkahini". The Hans India. Hyderabad Media House. Retrieved 14 April 2017. 
  7. ^ PTI (15 February 2017). "Pallavi Sharda feels 'lucky' to work with Vidya Balan in 'Begum Jaan'". The Times of India. The Times Group. Retrieved 14 April 2017. 
  8. ^ Lohana, Avinash (28 January 2017). "Vidya Balan gets her team of 'warriors' for 'Begum Jaan'". The Times of India. The Times Group. Retrieved 14 April 2017. 
  9. ^ IANS (14 April 2016). "'Begum Jaan' shooting to start in June: Srijit Mukherji". The Indian Express. Retrieved 14 April 2017. 
  10. ^ ANI (14 August 2016). "Vidya Balan wraps up 'Begum Jaan'". Daily News & Analysis. Diligent Media Corporation. Retrieved 14 April 2017. 
  11. ^ "Begum Jaan (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". Apple Music. Apple. Retrieved 12 July 2018. 
  12. ^ FP Staff (14 February 2017). "'Prem Mein Tohre' from Begum Jaan: Asha Bhosle's song explores vulnerabilities of sex workers". Showsha. Firstpost. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  13. ^ Ajit (30 March 2017). "'Aazaadiyan' from 'Begum Jaan': Sonu Nigam and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan create magic with the second track". The Times of India. The Times Group. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  14. ^ Singh, Arijit (12 April 2017). "Murshida". Saavn. Retrieved 12 July 2018. 
  15. ^ Deccan Chronicle (14 March 2017). "Vidya Balan releases first poster of Begum Jaan and it is intense!". The Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 14 March 2017. 
  16. ^ Iyengar, Anusha (8 March 2017). "Begum Jaan Poster: Vidya Balan introduces her family with a very powerful tag line". Bollywood Life. IWPL. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  17. ^ ANI (14 March 2017). "Vidya Balan steals the show in 'Begum Jaan' trailer". Business Standard. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  18. ^ Mid-Day Online Correspondent (20 March 2017). "Bollywood celebs praise Vidya Balan's 'Begum Jaan', trailer crosses 20 million views". Mid-Day. Mid-Day Infomedia. Retrieved 20 March 2017. 
  19. ^ "Begum Jaan (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 12 July 2018. 
  20. ^ Iyer, Meena (14 April 2017). "Begum Jaan Movie Review". The Times of India. The Times Group. Retrieved 12 July 2018. 3/5 stars
  21. ^ Vats, Rohit (21 July 2017). "Begum Jaan movie review: Vidya Balan and her girls fight patriarchy with all their might". Hindustan Times. HT Media. Retrieved 12 July 2018. 2.5/5 stars
  22. ^ Sen, Raja (14 April 2017). "Begum Jaan Movie Review: Vidya Balan Is Wasted In Cheesy Film That's Hard To Take Seriously". NDTV. NDTV Convergence. Retrieved 12 July 2018. 1/5 stars
  23. ^ Joshi, Namrata (14 April 2017). "'Begum Jaan' review : All sound and fury signifying nothing". The Hindu. Retrieved 12 July 2018. 
  24. ^ Masand, Rajeev (21 April 2017). "Begum Jaan Movie Review: Feminist Statement Drowned By Noise". News18. News18 Network. Retrieved 12 July 2018. 2/5 stars
  25. ^ Sen, Rajyasree (18 April 2017). "'Begum Jaan' is an assault on the senses". Live Mint. HT Media. Retrieved 12 July 2018. 
  26. ^ Gupta, Shubhra (14 April 2017). "Begum Jaan movie review: Vidya Balan tries to invest some feeling into her role which soon turns clichéd". The Indian Express. Retrieved 12 July 2018. 1.5/5 stars
  27. ^ Chatterjee, Saibal (14 April 2017). "Begum Jaan Movie Review: Vidya Balan's Knockout Performance Is Lost In Banshee-Like Shrillness". NDTV. NDTV Convergence. Retrieved 12 July 2018. 2.5/5 stars
  28. ^ Verma, Sukanya (14 April 2017). "Review: Even Vidya Balan cannot rescue Begum Jaan's loud, empty feminism". Rediff. Retrieved 12 July 2018. 2/5 stars
  29. ^ Singh, Suhani (14 April 2017). "Begum Jaan review: Vidya Balan and her band of fiery sisters can't save this melodrama". India Today. Living Media India. Retrieved 12 July 2018. 1.5/5 stars

External links[edit]