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Bandit Queen (1994)

 -  Biography | Drama  -  30 June 1995 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 2,689 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 39 critic

The movie tells the story of the bandit queen Phoolan Devi who was sent to prison in 1983 and got free in 1994. During five years she was prosecuted by the Indian police and turned into a ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Nirmal Pandey ...
Vikram Mallah (as Nirmal Panday)
Rajesh Vivek ...
Mustaquim
Raghuvir Yadav ...
Madho
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Anirudh Agarwal ...
Babu Gujjar
...
Poolan / Man Singh Gang
...
Man Singh (as Manoj Bajpai)
Pallavi Bharti ...
Little Girl
Kamia Bhatt ...
Rukhmani, Age 11
...
Poolan / Man Singh Gang
Sunita Bhatt ...
Ashok Bulani ...
D.S.P
Mahesh Chandra ...
Chief Minister
Deepak Chibber ...
S.P. Bhind
Ranjit Chowdhry ...
Shiv Narain (as Ranjit Chaudhry)
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Storyline

The movie tells the story of the bandit queen Phoolan Devi who was sent to prison in 1983 and got free in 1994. During five years she was prosecuted by the Indian police and turned into a legend (like a modern Robin Hood) by the Indian press. Although the press tended to make her the optimal hero with blue eyes, dark hair, being tall and beautiful she was in reality an average Indian which makes it hard for the movie to fulfill the expectations of the audience and tell the truth at the same time. Later in her life,She entered into the politics and was assassinated in 2001. Written by Volker Boehm

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One woman dared to fight back See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

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Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

30 June 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Rainha dos Bandidos  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Gross:

$399,748 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shekhar Kapur:  truck driver with beard whom Phoolan Devi (Seema Biswas) hits with the gun handle. See more »

Quotes

Puttilal: [Tied to a pole and beaten with rifle-butt] Forgive me.
Phoolan Devi: Forgive you?
Phoolan Devi: Write this to the police.
Vikram Mallah: What?
Phoolan Devi: Any man that marries a little girl... I'll kill him.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hera Pheri (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A shocking story, and more so because it's true
15 June 2005 | by (India) – See all my reviews

I saw Bandit Queen in 2005, over a decade after it was made amidst widespread controversy in India. The language, the stark treatment and the natural acting (by a relatively unknown cast for that time) might have been even more shocking at that time for an Indian populace more familiar with fantasy cinema. The film, the cast, and Shekhar Kapoor, deserve accolades for the breakthrough effort.

The plot is not very different from a typical revenge drama made in various forms in India. In fact, there have been several fictional accounts of this particular story itself. The reason why this stands out is that it's supposed to be a first person account of someone who actually went through all this, and a lot else that doesn't find place on the screen, and survived to tell the tale. Survived long enough to see her story made into a movie at least. Phoolan Devi didn't live very long after being released from prison in 1994.

The film scores on several counts. The cinematography is brilliant. The music is apt. The cast, many of whom became more familiar names later, is very good. But the screenplay is patchy. Things move too fast and in jerks at times. It's understandable though, because there are just too many strands that need to be tied together to make it all cohesive. Or maybe I felt that because I have read Mala Sen's book, which is a more detailed and better, though obviously not as shocking as the visual, account of Phoolan Devi's travails, and which is purported to be one of the main sources for the film.

There are some factual ambiguities too. According to Phoolan Devi, she wasn't present when the Behmai massacre took place, and despite claiming to be the dictated account of Phoolan herself, she is shown to participate, and in fact initiate, the massacre. Then the final scene where Phoolan surrenders shows her touching the feet of the Chief Minister, while in reality she had surrendered to a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi. Symbolic value only, but shows that Phoolan didn't want to show servitude to a living, ordinary person. It would have been nice to show the Chief Minister to have some resemblance to Arjun Singh, who many remember was the CM of Madhya Pradesh then.

But these are small chinks in this eminently well-made movie, a rare gem to come out from the mainstream Indian film industry, made by a man who before this was known best for the ultimate masala movie of the late 80s - Mr India.


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