Vidya Balan in good form but Begum Jaan seems like documentary

Director Srijit Mukherji’s Bengali film Rajkahini featured a group of men and women living in a house situated right in the middle of East Pakistan and India’s Bengal. Now, Mukherji’s debut Hindi film Begum Jaan shifts this house to the Punjab-Pakistan border.First understand Begum Jaan. A hookah-snorting, razor-tongued woman with authoritarian air, she is the master of her fate. From Gujarati to Bengali to Awadhi, her brothel has women of every cast, language and religion. Some are riot victims, some are simply thrown out of their houses and some failed in love. Begum knows all their secrets and saves them from being homeless. New and younger girls are anyway sought in her business.It’s a typical good woman-bad business kind of character. She will offer explanations for morally ambiguous decisions and will take credit for all the right moves. Vidya Balan adds her persona and charm to Begum Jaan and dominates the screen from the word go.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 treatment.

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