FC Trailer Talk: Begum Jaan

This remake of Bengali film Rajkahini features Vidya Balan as a formidable brothel owner leading an all-female revolt in colonial India

Lakshmi SankaranLakshmi Sankaran

March 14, 2017 | 12:03 AM

FC Trailer Talk: Begum Jaan

The black and white montage at the beginning of this trailer, underscored by Amitabh Bachchan’s gravelly voice-over, might give the distinct impression that this is a tale of patriotic fervour. Not quite.

As we discover Begum Jaan is merely using India’s partition as a backdrop in the service of another story: about a feisty brothel owner (Vidya Balan, in the titular role) who along with her crew, refuses to vacate the place they call home.

Begum Jaan seems to be a faithful remake of the 2015 Bengali drama Rajkahini, written and directed by Srijit Mukherji. Balan’s role in that film was played by Rituparna Sengupta. The trailer for Mukherji’s remake plays very identical to the original trailer. Only instead of Bengal, this brothel’s location is along the Punjab border.

We get brief glimpses of the men in Begum Jaan’s life (Naseeruddin Shah and Ashish Vidyarthi) but the main narrative here is obviously that of women-power. Balan and her girl gang (Gauahar Khan, Pallavi Sharda, among others) are the rebel outlaws taking on the male establishment.

Per the trailer, Begum Jaan is one of those message movies brimming with noble intent. But, as many filmmakers will attest, that may often not be enough.

Watch the trailer below: