Rajkahini: A Tale of Partition and Resistance
Rajkahini is a 2015 Bengali film that depicts the plight of a group of women who run a brothel in a village that is divided by the Radcliffe Line, the border between India and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) during the Partition of 1947. The film is directed by Srijit Mukherji and stars Rituparna Sengupta, Saswata Chatterjee, Kaushik Sen, Jaya Ahsan, Jisshu Sengupta, Abir Chatterjee and others in prominent roles.
The film begins with the announcement of the Partition of Bengal by the British in June 1947. The Radcliffe Line passes through a village that houses a brothel run by Begum Jaan (Rituparna Sengupta), who is assisted by her loyal bodyguard Saleem Mirza (Nigel Akkara), a Pathan, and Sujan (Rudranil Ghosh), a man-servant and entertainer. The brothel is home to eleven women who work as prostitutes under Begum Jaan's supervision. The women have different backgrounds, religions and personalities, but they share a bond of sisterhood and defiance against the oppressive society.
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Begum Jaan is not concerned about Hindustan or Pakistan, her only concern is her business, which is running badly because of the partition and resulting riots. The local master and Congress worker (Abir Chatterjee) visits the brothel time to time with gifts for everyone. Meanwhile, the political sky is darkening. Mr. Profullo Sen (Saswata Chatterjee) from Congress and Mr. Ilias (Kaushik Sen) from Muslim League (who were childhood friends but now separated) meet and discuss about the relocation of the people of the two districts. They are assigned to evacuate the brothel as it falls on the border and make way for a barbed wire fence. They visit Begum Jaan and inform her about the situation, but she refuses to leave her home and challenges them to evict her by force.
The film then follows the struggle of Begum Jaan and her women against the authorities who try to remove them from their land. They face violence, betrayal, humiliation and death, but they do not give up their fight for their dignity and freedom. The film also explores the themes of nationalism, communalism, feminism and humanism through the characters and their interactions.
Rajkahini received positive reviews from critics and audiences alike. The film was praised for its powerful performances, especially by Rituparna Sengupta, who won several awards for her portrayal of Begum Jaan. The film was also lauded for its direction, screenplay, cinematography, music and editing. The film was considered as one of the best Bengali films of 2015 and one of the finest works of Srijit Mukherji.
The film also faced some controversies for its bold depiction of sexuality, violence and profanity. Some scenes were censored or cut by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) before its release. The film was also banned in Pakistan for its portrayal of the Partition.
Rajkahini was remade in Hindi by Srijit Mukherji himself as Begum Jaan in 2017. The remake starred Vidya Balan as Begum Jaan, along with Naseeruddin Shah, Gauahar Khan, Pallavi Sharda, Chunky Pandey and others. The remake was set in Punjab instead of Bengal and had some changes in the plot and characters. The remake received mixed reviews from critics and failed to replicate the success of the original.
Where to Watch
Rajkahini is available to watch online on Disney+ Hotstar. You can also download it from various torrent sites or streaming platforms, but we do not recommend or endorse such illegal activities.
: Rajkahini - Wikipedia
: Begum Jaan - Wikipedia
: Rajkahini Full Movie Online In HD on Disney+ Hotstar