Why Begum Jaan is Unnecessary

Pop Culture

Why Begum Jaan is Unnecessary

Illustration: Akshita Monga


n getting the chance to remake Begum Jaan from his critically acclaimed Bengali period drama, Rajkahini, Srijit Mukherji had the power that Sholay’s Ramesh Sippy wished he possessed when Ram Gopal Varma, Brand Ambassador of Drunk Twitter Fight Club™,  butchered the 1975 classic by turning it into the burning wreck that is Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag. But, what the seven-time National Award-winning director did with this power instead, was use all of it to dislodge Ram Gopal Varma from the honour of having made the worst remake in Bollywood, and claimed the title for himself. RGV may have made a really bad movie, but what Srijit Mukherji has done is make a wholly unnecessary one.

The story of 11 sex workers valiantly fighting a lost battle to save their brothel, when a line dividing India and Pakistan is drawn through it, is undoubtedly a fascinating concept, but one that the director had already executed in a fairly flawed Rajkahini, spearheaded by Rituparna Sengupta. With Begum Jaan, one would naturally expect Mukherji to grab the chance with both hands and go for a significantly improved do-over and hope like hell that it redeems him. Instead, Mukherji gets wholly confused between the meaning of the words “retelling” and “copy pasting” and creates a film that is almost exactly like the one he has already created.