Friday, 20 January 2017 »  Login
in
»
Movies » Bandit Queen Movie Review
I am at

Bandit Queen Review

Bandit Queen
Smriti Kashyap / fullhyd.com
EDITOR RATING
8.0
Performances
Script
Music/Soundtrack
Visuals
NA
NA
NA
NA
Suggestions
Can watch again
NA
Good for kids
NA
Good for dates
NA
Wait to rent it
NA
La reine est mort.
The Queen is dead.

A legend, a myth, a bandit... Phoolan Devi has been it all. With the power to hold an entire government at ransom and the strength to sway the emotions of a million low caste Indians, Phoolan was the quintessential phoenix rising from the ashes. The lady liked to think that she was Kali maata incarnate, and today a whole nation agrees.

Phoolan's life is a gruesome example of the inhumanities suffered by the lower castes in rural India. Tormented by the interminable brutalities imposed on her by the high-class thakurs, the woman evolved from a brash teenager and a woman cruelly humiliated to the dreaded Bandit Queen as she was universally known, in an extraordinary life. She took justice and her destiny into her own hands, and boldly went where no dalit woman had gone before.

The tale has been documented and redocumented with several versions available for various palates. And one version is Shekhar Kapur's magnum opus. This movie is based (loosely) on Mala Sen's biography of the same name. It purports to tell Phoolan's tale as it happened.

Mired in controversy from the word 'go', Kapur's Bandit Queen is not so much Phoolan's story as it is the documentation of a sequence of rapes. But it does serve to highlight the various atrocities committed by the Thakurs in the name of caste.

The pre-credit sequences show Phoolan, a mere stripling of 11, being married to a 33-year-old man in exchange for a bicycle and a cow. The endless torture by her pedophilic husband causes Phoolan to run away back to her parents. Their subsequent rejection leads her to fend for herself by working in the fields.

The village headman's son attempts to molest her and she rebuffs his attempt, but no one in the village is willing to believe her word against his claim that she tried to sexually entrap him. She is then banished from the village.

When she tries to return, she is arrested and raped by the police. The abuse continues until she becomes the lover of Vickram Mallah (Nirmal Pandey), a tough bandit with a roguish charm. Mallah forms his own gang, and Phoolan is soon initiated into a world of .315s and highway robbery and other sundry criminal activities. When Mallah is killed, Phoolan is subject to brutal and interminable rapes by the high castes thakurs.

The latter half of the movie deals with the dramatic killing of the thakurs by Phoolan in the infamous Behmai massacre. She remembers Mallah saying "Ek ko maroge to phansi ho jaayega... 20 ko maroge to naam badhega." Which is exactly what she does...she kills 22 Thakurs in broad daylight, in a massacre that rocks the entire police force.

The largest massacre in the history of free India by a group of bandits raises Phoolan to the highest echelons of notoriety, and has the entire nation baying for her blood. The movie then recounts the rest of the story, leading to her much publicized surrender, before 8,000 people, in Bhind.

Bandit Queen is a good effort by Shekhar Kapur, even though he just sticks to the rape and retribution theme. The performances by Seema Biswas and Nirmal Pandey are laudable, considering they didn't have much to work with in the first place (shooting, raping and running around the ravines, as we all know, require minimum histrionic efforts). Seema Biswas brings in an enormous tenacity and ferocity into the title role.

Phoolan Devi, at the time of this movie, was terribly cross with Kapur and pushed for its ban, because she was of the opinion that it was a distorted view, through Kapur's cinematic lens, of her life. It also enraged middle class sensibilities - several of them opined that the next time they would like to see a film about "Phoolan the person, not Phoolan the sexual toy". The outrage can be best summed up in Arundhati Roy's words - "Rape is the main dish, caste is the sauce it swims in."

Not everybody who is discriminated against or raped is drawn into a life of brigandage (though we aren't sure whether we should add a "thankfully" here), but it does leave indelible marks on the psyche. It is only sometimes that they manifest themselves in morbid ways. Bandit Queen is a fine portrayal of the impact that caste-based violations had on a tender psyche.

The lady herself is no more, but hopefully the tale will strengthen many other psyches.
Share. Save. Connect.
  EMAIL
  PRINT
  SAVE
BANDIT QUEEN SNAPSHOT
Bandit Queen (hindi) reviews
USER RATING
8.0
3 USERS
RATE
Rating is quick and easy - try it!
BANDIT QUEEN USER REVIEWS
1 - 3 OF 3 COMMENTS
POSITIVE  |  NEGATIVE |  NEWEST  |  OLDEST  |  MOST HELPFUL  |  LEAST HELPFUL
USER RATING
8.0
3 USERS
Performances
Script
Music/Soundtrack
Visuals
NA
NA
NA
NA
Can watch again - NA
Good for kids - NA
Good for dates - NA
Wait to rent it - NA
Arun Pandit on 7th Sep 2001, 9:23am | Permalink
who is this sk? i didnt know salman khan also writes!!!
RATING
8
Kapila on 1st Sep 2001, 4:45pm | Permalink
the review is excellant. it is a myurre piece of writin . good job for not over sensationalising the movie.4 stars for the write up.
RATING
8
Arjun .g on 29th Aug 2001, 6:24pm | Permalink
the movie is hard hitting .
the review too bringsinto light what i felt but could not express.
RATING
8
LEAVE A COMMENT
fullhyd.com has 700,000+ monthly visits. Tell Hyderabad what you feel about Bandit Queen!
Rate Movie
[no link to your name will appear, overriding global settings]
To preserve integrity, fullhyd.com allows ratings/comments only with a valid email. Your comments will be accepted once you give your email, and will be deleted if the email is not authenticated within 24 hours.
My name:

Dissatisfied with the results? Report a problem or error, or add a listing.
ADVERTISEMENT
SHOUTBOX!
ADVERTISEMENT
This page was tagged for
phoolan devi movie
bandit queen Hindi move
bnddat qen move
Banded Queen Hindi Movies
bandit queen movie
Follow fullhyd.com on
© Copyright 1999-2009 LRR Technologies (Hyderabad), Pvt Ltd. All rights reserved. fullhyd, fullhyderabad, Welcome To The Neighbourhood are trademarks of LRR Technologies (Hyderabad) Pvt Ltd. The textual, graphic, audio and audiovisual material in this site is protected by copyright law. You may not copy, distribute, or use this material except as necessary for your personal, non-commercial use. Any trademarks are the properties of their respective owners. More on Hyderabad, India. Jobs in Hyderabad.