Begum Jaan

Been hearing about this movie called Begum Jaan recently and finally managed to watch it thanks to YouTube 🙂


What my exploration of History of various cultures in the world has taught me is that History is always written by and in favor of the victors… By in favor of the victors, I mean that they skip the dirty details and focus only on the positive outcomes… For example, we celebrate the fact that Hitler and his axis of evil were defeated in WWII while conviniently downplaying the reality, in my opinion at-least that what America did to Hiroshima and Nagasaki is no less of a war crime than the Holocaust…

Coming to the history of Indian Independance especially surrounding the partition of India and formation on the Indian Union, if we look deep into, we can actually see that there is no shortage of the dirty details, but all well justified for the “greater good”… But one must ask the question – for whom??? This film is set to atleast look like one instance of such a dirty detail and at this point, I don’t really know if its based on true events or not… But, hey, when you think about it, its not really surprising if it really did turn out to be true…

The empire of Great Britain, as we know from history has done a great deal of harm to the people of their colonies… However, what I think is the worst that they did is the way in which they divided the colonies into countries at the end of their colonial era… As John Oliver said in one of his episodes, pretty much every single international problem can be traced back to an Englishman drawing a line on a map 🙂 This is basically because when the British drew those lines seperating the countries that came out of their colonies, absolutely no regard to the local culture and livelihood was given, which is why thanks to every line, coupled with the authoritarian ambitions of those who were to be the leadership, ended up forcing so many people to part ways… So many farmers lost their lands and so many were left homeless and penniless leading to a lot, I mean a lot of casualties that when you think about it, you kind of wonder atleast from their perspective – why we needed to have independance…

The same phenomenon happened in India as well thanks to Sir Cyrill Radcliffe when he drew a couple of lines in the Indian subcontinent… The ones that resulted in the partition of the British India into three countries – namely India, Pakistan and Bangladesh… I hope we all remember the stories about the bloody riots that took place that moved even Gandhiji enough for him to quit the Indian National Congress and call for its closure… And then lets also not forget how India was unified by force… In other words the leadership of the time was willing to do anything and everything to achieve their goal of forming this country called India no matter how morally incorrect it can be, all for the greater good of Indians as they said…

This movie, released in 2017 is a Hindi remake of a Bengali movie called Raajkahini by its director Srijit Mukherji and is also his debut in Bollywood… The movie sets an example to essentially showcase the politics that was involved with partition and formation of the India by taking an example of a brothel located in the India-Pakistan border, with the border going right thru the house… The story is basically the struggles of the group of prostitutes of that brothel against the authorities who wants them to relocate… When the women refuse, a war happens between them and the authorities to such a level that it becomes a freedom struggles in itself… That is an unknown small scale war for the freedom of being able to keep their home resulting in a beautiful tragedy that can be compared with the eternal story of the legendary Rani “Padmavathy” Padmini of Chittorgarh, who sacrificed herself by self-immolation to defend her honor… Begum Jaan depicts a similar story of a group of whom I consider incredibly brave women who died the death that not even a tiny bit less honorable than that of a true soldier/warrior…

The story is set in such a way as to be a lesson to the people today who see women as the weaker sex… Begum Jaan appears to have set as an example to show that if needed be, women can be as strong and even more stronger and braver than most men… That is, women can fight just like true warriors being absolutely fearless with a smile on their face, even while facing death straight in its eyes…

Vidya Balan plays the lead role of Begam Jaan, who is the brothel’s madam and I must say she did an awesome job portraying such a strong and complex character… Her performance was indeed absolutely flawless and I must say that if she is not given the national award for this, I will be forced to question the judgement of the jury members 🙂 A surprise was to see Ila Arun on the screen after quite a long time (last time I saw her was on Jodha Akbar) as one of the strong and brave women…

Altogether a great movie, with an amazing drama with a background score to match, which in my opinion, based on the reviews and ratings so far is very much underrated… It is available in YouTube Movies… Check it out 🙂

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