The movie tells the story of the bandit queen Phoolan Devi who was sent to prison in 1983 and got free in 1994. For five years she was prosecuted by the Indian police and turned into a ...
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Police Inspector Samar Pratap Singh is transferred to Motihari, in the Indian state of Bihar, along with his wife, Manjari and a daughter. He is honest and diligent and these attributes ... See full summary »
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It's 1947 and the borderlines between India and Pakistan are being drawn. A young girl witnesses tragedy as her ayah (nanny) is caught between the love of two men and the rising tide of political and religious violence.
Anirudh Parmar is blind, but he does not let this impairment bind him down. He runs a school for the blind as a Principal. He meets with social worker, Kavita. Kavita is attracted to him, ... See full summary »
The movie tells the story of the bandit queen Phoolan Devi who was sent to prison in 1983 and got free in 1994. For 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 politics and was assassinated in 2001.Written by
Phoolan Devi on whom the film was based fought to ban the film she had also decided to sacrifice her life outside a theater if the film wasn't banned.She decided to withdraw the allegations after a settlement with channel 4. See more »
The film's subject is poignant and very real. It happened. One can debate some artistic liberties taken by director and scriptwriter. The subject is what makes the film tick--nothing else. I saw the film for the first time after the real Phoolan, was gunned down in New Delhi and had served several years as an elected Member of Parliament in India. By the way, she was not the first untouchable elected to Parliament, as some reviewers stated. The so-called "untouchables" have been elected to the Indian Parliament for decades in reserved constituencies.
While Shekhar Kapur as a director is a hero to many India, because he made commercially accepted international films---"Bandit Queen" and "Elizabeth" (and a tolerable kiddie movie called "Mister India", which was accepted by the average Indian audiences)---and even got Oscar nominations for Elizabeth, I do not place him as a top notch film director from India. He fails in every department as a director except perhaps that he succeeds in getting some above-average performances from his actors. Subtlety, finesse, charm are not easy to find in his films--melodrama brims in them.
His idea of using Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's vocal rendering of the song in the early parts of the film, was perhaps his single major achievement on the undistinguished sound track of "Bandit Queen". And then perhaps the creaking doors during the gang rape sequence. Otherwise the film looked like a spaghetti western with sex and violence minus the great music one associates with them.
If you are looking for a good living Indian film director who makes realistic cinema of international quality--it is not Shekhar Kapur's movies you should see; it is the later works of three Indian film-makers Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Mrinal Sen, and Girish Karnad and of course Muzaffar Ali's "Umrao Jaan". It is unfortunate that none of those directors had the financial support that Kapur had to give them and their films an international viewership. For instance, Sen's "Oka oorie katha" made in Telugu, or Satyajit Ray's "Sadgati" based on Munshi Prem Chand's "Kafan" are more complete as films to an intelligent viewer dealing on the state of the untouchables in India. Sen did not have to resort to graphic sex and violence but merely suggested them. Of course, Sen's nugget did not make headlines, while Kapur's effort hogged them.
To Kapur's credit, he is articulate and used his limited talent and modest resources in the Mumbai film industry to take his products beyond home audiences. For that effort, I salute Kapur. But "Bandit Queen" will remain a great subject awaiting an accomplished director to deal with it.
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