On the whole BEGUM JAAN that faces stiff competition from the Hollywood release will have to rely on positive word of mouth to post good weekend figures. Although a commercial film, the director gives it a touch of documentary movie that is refreshing.
Coming to the actors now, to begin with, Vidya Balan, in an attempt to earn the next National award, overplayed in few scenes but obviously she knows how to cheat and turn an average scene into gold. From the premier shows' itself the movie has been getting positive review and ratings. While talking about the imposed ban, producer Mahesh Bhatt said, "I was told by my distributor that Pakistan has a policy does not permit the import of films which deal with the issue of partition". The trailer of the film also got huge appreciation. And then starts a war between Begum Jaan's team of women and government officials.
Connecting the independence era to the current scenario - where nothing has changed for women, along with humanitarianism, religion, politics and pitfalls of a prostitute's profession, the director salvos from all angles making the story seem solemn and overtly forced. While Rajkahini was set in Bengal, Begum Jaan has the backdrop of Punjab. Her dialogues throughout the movie are appreciable.
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Director Srijit Mukherji, who had a victor in the original Bengali version, had two big referral points to go by - Shyam Benegal's Mandi and Ketan Mehta's Mirch Masala. Some scenes make the audience shocked while some make them happy.
Yet, if the role fails to satisfy, awe you and move you as Smita and Shabana so well did in their movies, the blame lies more in the narrative framework of the film that simply slips in and out of control. Gopi Bhagat's cinematography captures the moods, tension and locales with equal fervour. Monisha R.Baldawa and Vivek Mishra did a decent job in editing.
It will be wrong not to talk about some great camerawork and art direction in Begum Jaan as also the music by Anu Malik. "We were asked to tone down some abuses, which we did and this happened in January, before we decided the release date of Begum Jaan", Vidya Balan said.