Holding a hookah in her hand and dressed in a traditional ghaghra and a long-sleeved blouse, Vidya Balan is a revelation in the first poster of her upcoming Bollywood film, Begum Jaan. She looks intense and portrays a powerful personality of a brothel owner in the film. The tagline of the movie, “My Body, My House, My Country, My Rules” also hints at the storyline of the movie, which is a Hindi adaptation of the hit Bengali Award-Winning film Rajkahini. The original film was helmed by Srijit Mukherjee and had Rituparna Sengupta in the lead role.
While Rajkahani was based on the partition of Bengal, Begum Jaan is set in the backdrop of Partition of India in 1947. The film narrates the story of the horrors of the partition in India. Vidya plays the role of a brothel's madam. Produced by Mahesh Bhatt and directed by Srijit Mukherjee, the film also features Gauhar Khan, Naseeruddin Shah, Illa Arun, Ashish Vidyarthi, Rajit Kapoor and Pallavi Sharda in important roles. The film is shot in Jharkhand and provides an impetus to Jharkhand's film industry as it roped in 350 local artists (including from Dumka, a village roughly 122 km from Shantiniketan in West Bengal). Apparently, the film was originally supposed to be shot in Maharashtra, but as per Jharkhand's 2015 film policy, the film was receiving a subsidy of 25% of the total production cost if shot in the state; so the location shifted to Jharkhand. Jharkhand rose to prominence after Anurag Kashyap's Gangs of Wasseypur depicted the mafia war in the Coal town of Dhanbad in 2012. Again, Jharkhand found a mention in last year's film, Udta Punjab, where Alia Bhatt played the role of a migrated worker from the state.
When on screen, Vidya Balan has an innate ability to own the character so well that you don't see the actor, but the character she is playing. Be it her movie The Dirty Picture or Kahaani, the actress owned her characters amazingly. In Begum Jaan also, she achieved this feat quite effortlessly. She plays the role of a brothel owner and every inch of her is absorbed in this character. Begum Jaan, which is all set to release on April 14 tells the story of women survivors during the partition of India. The film has an empowering message as well.