This is a very touching story of a bordello queen Begum Jaan (Vidya Balan) who fights till her last breath against those who want to evict her from her whorehouse situated on the border of Hindustan and Pakistan during the Partition era when a Radcliffe line was drawn to put a meshed wire across the borders of Hindustan and the newly formed Pakistan. The Government orders her bordello to be closed and an eviction notice is issued by two Government officials Srivastava ( Ashish Vidyarthi) and Illyas ( Rajit Kapoor) but Begum Jaan is hell bent on not leaving her much coveted bordello where she lives with her many daughters (Pallavi Sharada, Gauhar Khan, Mishti Chakraboraty, Poonam Rajput, Ridheema Tewary, Raviza Chauhan, Priyanka Setia, , Flora Saini) and others and an elderly aunt (Illa Arun) whose stories of queens from Hindi history like Rani Laxmibai, Rani Padmavati, Meera, which are told to a young girl living with them  juxtaposed with the fight of Begum Jaan with the help of a social activist teacher (Vivek Mushran) and a kingly rajah (Naseeruddin Shah) who is the benevolent protector of Begum Jaan but after Independence the kingly princes and kings have to hand over their riches to the Government and she is left all alone to fight with the might of Illyas and Shrivastava along with a Police officer (Rajesh Sharma) and a paid killer Kabir (Chunky Pandey)  and she fights with a gun and gun and a bullet for bullet until their bordello is burnt and all the surviving girls prefer to sacrifice their lives in the fires of their much revered whorehouse. The film is based on a Bengali film ‘Rajkahiini’ directed by the same director Srijit Mukherjee and he has done a wonderful job. Vidya Balan successfully carries the film on her shoulders and gives a superlative performance. Pallavi Sharada is impressive. The rest of the girls are very believable and give a good performance. Illa Arun is fantastic. Ashish Vidyarthi, Chunkey Pandey, Rajit Kapoor, Pitobash Tripathy, Rajesh Sharma, Vivek Mushran, Sumeet Nijhawan, lend good support. Naseeruddin Shah is his usual impressive self. The music by Anu Malik could have been better. Cinematography is of high standards though the single shots of Ashish Vidyarthi and  Rajit Kapoor have been shot from odd angles which is a bit jarring. The editing is fluid and racy. The film is watchable though one gets the feeling you have watched the same scenes in films like Tamas, Train To Pakistan, Gandhi, Manoranjan , Mandi, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Last Whorehouse in Texas and the climax which is straight out of Mirch Masala.

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