Begum Jaan: Vidya Balan is back, in a bold and unapologetic film which speaks of a highly marginalised section of society, the oldest profession in the world.
Director Srijit Mukherji touches on many difficult issues, teaching us about the history of that era. At times the placement of the cast looks like a theatrical production, at other times the odd angles and half face shots don’t work.
The movie suffers from an inconsistent mood. Performances are ranging from average to good, with nuances into the lives and back stories of the 11 prostitutes. What could have been a stellar movie just misses the mark on leaving a lasting impression. Many scenes and instances are very intense, waking us to the realities of the time, but they are not strung together well. The censorship of language even though it is an ‘A’ rated film further weakens the impact.
The end result? A good film with many messages and a strong social stance. Stories of major influential women in Indian history are shown as montages, adding to the strength and courage of the protagonists.