Movie Review: Bandit Queen

I finally got to see the flickmore than a decade after its release. It was easily one of the most intense movie experiences I've had. Breathtaking in magnitude, unapologetic in narration or dialog, the movie is a masterpiece from Shekar Kapoor , famed director of Elizabeth.

It is unfortunate that Seema Biswas, who plays the lead role of real life legend, Phoolan Devi the bandit queen did not get noticed for a nomination. While raw in its screenplay and bold in its depiction of brutality, the movie did not have any overtones of pornography a fact that adds kudos to the mastery of the filmakers. Having said that, I must admit that some scenes were simply hard to watch.

The story is about the myth of Phoolan Devi, the queen of the Indian ravines of the Chambal valley. Married off at the age of 11 to a widower, the young Phoolan is deprived of all innocence by her merciless husband.
She runs away from him, and is then taken advantage of by higher caste men and even the police of her village. Her undeterring will and fate together help her make a mark as a feared bandit and the second in command of a notorious gang.

Her troubles are far from over and she is once again exploited by higher caste men. In her quest for revenge, she kills several men on that caste, many of whom were guiltless of the crime inflicted on her.

This atrocity soon causes the dismantling of her gang and her inevitable surrender to the authorities. The film made in Phoolan's lifetime does not cover the rest of the details of her life. Phoolan, after completing her sentence went on to become a member of parliament and was also nominated for a Nobel peace price. She was finally assassinated, for her act of revenge. Going back to this movie, it is not for the faint hearted and a must see for everyone else.

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