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Bandit Queen

  • Film
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Director Shekhar Kapur (‘Elizabeth’) has never let something as tiresome as historical rigour get in the way of a good yarn, and this lavishly mounted 1994 account of the life of Indian feminist, Phoolan Devi, is no exception. Said to be ‘riddled with inaccuracies’ by Devi herself, the film follows the rambunctious young girl whose harsh upbringing in northern India during the late 1970s encouraged her to join a gang of bandits and wage a personal war against male cultural dominance and the caste system.

Seema Biswas is excellent in the title role, exuding a total awareness of her character’s bruised mentality and delivering a performance that is as physical and insidiously threatening as the land upon which she is habitually defiled by groups of leering men who believe her to be a ‘low caste bitch’. Indeed, the numerous, unflinchingly filmed scenes of public and gang rape make this a visceral, if gruelling, experience, especially when juxtaposed with sprawling, beautifully photographed vistas of the Indian deserts and mountain ranges.

Written by David Jenkins

Release Details

  • Rated:18
  • Release date:Friday 25 April 2008
  • Duration:121 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Shekhar Kapur
  • Screenwriter:Mala Sen
  • Cast:
    • Seema Biswas
    • Nirmal Pandey
    • Manjoj Bajpai
    • Rajesh Vivek
    • Raghuvir Yadav
    • Govind Namdeo
    • Saurabh Yadav
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