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Vidya Balan goes fierce in first Begum Jaan trailer

The long-awaited trailer shows how India's freedom means the end of Begum Jaan and her women in this remake directed by Srijit Mukherji.

Sonal Pandya

Set during the time of India's independence from Britain, writer-director Srijit Mukherji's Begum Jaan tells the story of a brothel house run by Begum Jaan (Vidya Balan) caught in between two newly formed countries. The palatial house sits right atop the Radcliffe line that divides the two nations.

The trailer's opening is narrated by Amitabh Bachchan who introduces the perilous situation under which the women now find themselves. Soon enough, government officials barge in with an eviction notice. But a fierce looking Vidya refuses to back down and move out of her home.

Begum Jaan is a remake of Mukherji's own Bengali film, Rajkahini (2015), starring Rituparna Sengupta and Jisshu Sengupta. Besides Vidya, the large ensemble cast includes Gauahar Khan, Ila Arun, Pallavi Sharda, Naseeruddin Shah, Rajit Kapoor, Ashish Vidyarthi and Chunky Pandey.

Shah plays a member of the local royal family who frequents the brothel and urges Begum Jaan to leave. An unrecognisable Pandey plays the mercenary Kabir who takes on the assignment of removing the women from the house.

They are given only one month to vacate the premises. Begum Jaan and her loyal women pick up firearms to protect their home and several scenes seem to depict that they will lay down their lives for their rights. Vidya is the standout of the trailer — not only is she the dominant voice from the women, she looks au naturel for a woman of that time period — with minimum makeup and grooming.

With a strong cast and an interesting plotline, Begum Jaan is already shaping up to be one of the year's best. The film is due to be released on 14 April.

Watch the trailer below: