Vidya Balan’s ‘Rajkahini’ will be set in Punjab!

Srijit Mukherji’s Rajkahini which swept the box-office in West Bengal and won critical acclaim last year, is relocating to Punjab.

Mukherji, who wrote and directed Rajkahini, is set to remake the film in Hindi for producers Mukesh and Mahesh Bhatt, with an entirely new cast. Rajkahini is about the travails of a brothel located on the India-Bangladesh border at the time of Partition. The remake, which will see Vidya Balan replacing Rituparna Sengupta as the brothel’s madam, will be called Begum Jaan.

The director explains the change. “We are relocating the plot of the remake to the India-Pakistan border in Punjab. Where Rajkahini was set, the after-effects of Partition were felt much less strongly than in Punjab. We’re taking the story to a new level and a different scale of expression.”

This means the rest of the cast changes as well, leading with Vidya, who Srijit feels Vidya would be most effective as a Punjabi woman. “She has the right look and diction for it. As for Rituparna, I’ve already spoken to her about the casting. She is very happy that I’m doing the film in Hindi. The entire cast is being changed. There may not be that many characters in Begum Jaan as there were in Rajkahini.”

Srijit has already moved from Kolkata to Mumbai, where the Bhatts have put him up. Begum Jaan begins shooting in August this year and releases early 2017.