Upsetting that Pakistan misjudged Begum Jaan, says Mahesh Bhatt
A band of foul-mouthed, opinionated and defiant women who are dependent on men’s carnal needs to earn a living are the sheroines of Srijit Mukerji’s melodrama that is set against the backdrop of partition. There’s plenty of bravura on display here, but the tone-deaf storytelling and poorly put together vignettes make this an arduous watch.
Begum Jaan is certainly not lacking in ambition and scale. It wants to be a feminist drama and a historical guide to India’s partition; looks at a widow’s fraught journey to become the madam of a brothel, and is a commentary on the importance of communal harmony and challenges the notion of freedom that comes at the cost of another’s inconvenience. Trouble is that it does a slipshod job of following any of these threads.
Mahesh Bhatt said that Pakistan was not a market for him. “It is a ladder that can connect the cultures. I would make it very clear that the ban on one movie cannot jeopardise the long efforts made to bring peace between two nations,” he added.