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Ek Thi Begum is a story of a Begum and her struggle amidst the kings of the world. It shows how she deals with and defeats all the kings, one by one.
If there is one thing that all Indian OTT platforms have upped their game on, it is crime content. After the Bhokal Crime series- based on the crimes in Uttar Pradesh- MX Player has already made a mark for itself in this genre.
Now, they’re back with a series based on Mumbai’s crime – Ek Thi Begum. The 14-episode series revolves around the Mumbai underworld. And in this backdrop is the story of a Begum among the kings. She slowly, one by one, defeats the kings even as they try to find out who she is.
Directed by Sachin Darekar, Ek Thi Begum starts with Zaheer (Ankit Mohan) a rebel gangster forming a gang to stop the drug trade in Mumbai. As the story moves forward, Zaheer is arrested and later, at the orders of another gangster, Maqsood Bhai, killed.
To seek justice for her beloved, Zaheer’s wife Ashraf (Anuja Sathe) does everything and goes everywhere. Right from the police to the media. But her efforts are in vain. Finally, she decides to avenge her husband’s death on her own. Ashraf starts working in a dance bar and lays traps for her husband’s killers, one by one.
Well, there have been a lot of stories and series made on Mumbai’s underworld. But only a few of them have a woman at the centre. Among these, the most memorable is Madhur Bhandarkar’s Chandni Bar. And how does one talk about Chandni Bar and not about Tabu’s iconic role! Other than that, there’s also the Shraddha Kapoor starrer Hasina Parkar. Ek Thi Begum is yet another series bound to give you the reminders of the iconic Chandni Bar.
Other than this, it is the characters who also make it worth watching. Had they worked a little more on the Mumbai accent, the characters would’ve been a little more relatable too. Ankit Mohan as Zaheer and Rajendra Shishtkar as Nana, one of Maqsood’s men are praiseworthy. Abhijeet Chavan as Tawde, the police officer in Maqsood’s pocket is wonderful as well.
And amidst all this, Anuja Sathe as Ashraf is disappointing with her not-so-appealing performance. You are unable to emotionally attach yourself to her character in any of the 14 episodes. A major reason for this could be the poor screenplay for her. They’ve made her story seem very easy. Though it is reportedly based on a true story, the writers seem to have struggled with her story.
The series also shows a media house where a journalist writing against the police claims to be taking revenge on her brother. However, her character isn’t given any other depth.
Though it lacks on certain fronts, the series definitely has a great set location. The scenes from Dubai to Mumbai are wonderfully portrayed. Some scenes seem so real that it reminded me of the movie Satya.
Ek Thi Begum looked promising as something that could’ve shown the stories of two strong women- Ashraf and the journalist. However, it is unable to do justice to either of them.
Though the story of Ek Thi Begum demolishes the forts of emperors, the story doesn’t do enough justice to the women- something that was expected given the title and trailer.
Picture credits: YouTube
The original piece appeared on our Hindi site and you can read it here. This piece was translated by Nishtha Pandey.
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