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Bandit Queen (1995)

Seema Biswas , Nirmal Pandey , Shekhar Kapur  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Seema Biswas, Nirmal Pandey, Rajesh Vivek, Raghuvir Yadav, Anirudh Agarwal
  • Directors: Shekhar Kapur
  • Writers: Mala Sen, Ranjit Kapoor
  • Producers: Bobby Bedi, Varsha Bedi
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: Assamese, Hindi
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • DVD Release Date: December 7, 2004
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002ZDPXW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,938 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Bandit Queen" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Murderer, kidnapper, and folk legend Phoolan Devi (Seema Biswas) endured a life of rape and abuse after being sold into marriage at the age of eleven. A spree of murders to avenge the death of her lover, known as the Behmai Massacre, makes Devi the object of a massive police hunt in this story that shocked the world - and brought a government to its knees.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This movie is a lot different than the actual events. September 28, 2001
Shekhar Kapur is a great director. I am Indian so, I have seen over 75% of the Bollywood movies (biggest film industry in the world). Bandit Queen was very different yet entertaining. It had several sexual scenes and a lot cursing which is not normal for an Indian movie. I would like you to know that you will hear the curse word sisterf***er through out the entire movie. This is a curse word that is often used in India. The scene where Vikram was murdered is one that was different from the actual events. Phoolan wasn't even near the sleeping Vikram when he was shot to death. Phoolan had walked away from him to the river without her gun. We have to realize that she had this rage in her because she wanted to be treated the same as the upper castes. She was married off at the age of 11. Her husband raped her shortly after causing her never to have children. He was the one that kicked her out after humiliating her in front of his entire village and her entire village. She had no place to go. The movie portrayed her leaving him. Read the book by Mala Sen. The book is very detailed and you will see how the movie was altered. Phoolan Devi reported that Kapur did not have her permission to make this movie. She added that the massacre did not happen the way the movie portrayed. She also said that the movie made her out to be a demon rather than the Robin Hood heroin she actually was. She robbed the rich and gave to the poor. She had a heart. She felt this hate for the ones that did her wrong - the heartless upper caste men. Phoolan Devi went through so much in her short life before she was brutally murdered. To me she will live on through the teachings in India, books and movies. She changed the way Indians thought of a woman to be powerless. Read more ›
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shocking, horrific and at times, depressing... January 12, 2000
Bandit Queen is the true story of Phoolan Devi, a wronged innocent in traditional India. The stories depicted in this film are all true. The filming is harsh and some of the scenes are gut-wrenching. But even still, black comedy and unconventional romance are thrown in, all for good measure. Even though Seema Biswas is the centre star in this film, Nirmal Panday is the one who deserves maximum credit for his onscreen charisma and presence, as he plays Vikram Mallah to perfection. A definite thumbs up, but not for the light-hearted.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of Phoolan Devi June 13, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This film from India tells the story of one of that country's most celebrated criminals, Phoolan Devi, who initiated the massacre of 30 men in Behmai in 1981. Based on the real life Devi's prison diaries, the film begins when she is a child and molested by her husband, and runs through her life, culminating in her surrender. There's a lot to tell and the director, Shehkar Kapur, only delays on scenes for dramatic effect. Otherwise, it's a pretty quick trip. This fast pace however tends to diminish the character of Phoolan. A lot of the time the actress Seema Biswas is left to stare at the camera or grimace at whoever is giving her grief. She best connects with the audience in the extended scene where she beats her husband in revenge and her pain is as palpable as his. Apart from a slow patch towards the end, the film is well directed and eminently watchable. Kapur shoots about half in the rocky desert and the lighting is pale and subdued, as opposed to the expected sun drench, which contrasts with the dark faces of the actors. It is also carried along by the jaunty music of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and climaxes in the operatic massacre sequence. We get the abandoned baby crying amongst chaos but a payoff as well. The film takes a pretty hard line on the sexism of Hinduism. Nearly all the men are portrayed as being obsessed with women as objects of lust. As a low caste woman, Phoolan is destined to be a powerless victim so the fact that she overcame her social disability is probably the reason for the interest in her existence. She is raped so many times during the film that we start to wonder why she doesn't get pregnant and Kapur makes her gang-rape resonant by using the screech of a swinging door to show the traffic. Read more ›
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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost unwatchable. May 21, 2002
'Bandit Queen' is an arthouse update of the old 70s exploitation movies, in which a relentless focus on female suffering is justified by a pseudo-feminist revenge-plot. Taking us far away from the multi-coloured, song-and-dance Hindi spectaculars that are currently all the global range, Shekhar Kapur shows us an India riven by violence, poverty and a vicious caste system, where women are treated as subhuman. Before she even hits puberty, Phoolan Devi is married off to an older man (dowry: rusty bicycle and old goat) and raped when she expresses dissatisfaction at her social lot. When, some years later, she is nearly raped again by the landowner's son, it is she who is expelled from the community; she takes up with bandits and begins her first true love affair with the atypically sensitive Vikram, de facto leader while Babu Gujjar is in prison. When the latter is released, now turned police informer, he resents the pretensions of this lower-caste woman (called a goddess by her followers), has her gang-raped by all his men, and publicly stripped and humiliated. Having plumbed the lowest depths there are, Devi takes the blood-spattered road of vengeance, turning torture and massacre into a media-fuelled spectacle.
When the director of 'Queen' later went on to make a film about Tudor-era royal conspiracies ('Elizabeth'), many were surprised because of the gaping differences in subject matter, but Kapur imposes his own concerns on the two movies: both feature outsider-women attempting to assert power in rigid male-dominated hierarchies; both emphasise the importance of costume, ritual and public spectacle in these societies, and the necessary reuninciation of sexuality and 'normal' femininity of strong women.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Arrived in excellent condition!
Published 2 months ago by Madeline Dixon
5.0 out of 5 stars Life and Times of Phoolan Devi -- WATCH WITH GOOD FRIENDS
Don't watch this film alone, or if you are depressed.
Have friends around, you will need their support.
Especially if you are a survivor of sexual assault. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Annie Lanzillotto author of L is for Lion
5.0 out of 5 stars Much better then "Wounded"
I watched the other movie about Phoolan devi (Wounded) first, but it was such a poor quality production that I stopped half way through. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Paul A. Harrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
This is a great movie. But be careful who you order it from. I first saw it on VHS and watched it several times. When I got it on DVD the translation was different. Read more
Published 14 months ago by G U
3.0 out of 5 stars Gang-rape, India
A Hindu dalit girl resists her fate of being a sex-slave acquired for a cow and rusty bicycle by older (also enough handsome) man just to be used sexually by anyone on her way,... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Michael Kerjman
1.0 out of 5 stars very disappointed about this dvd.
movie is so not what I was hoping for movie was edited down so much it could have have been on network tv.DAMN AMERICAN CENSORS!!!
Published 22 months ago by julius w.
4.0 out of 5 stars Bandit Queen
Product: The DVD was in good shape and it played well.
The Direction of the film starts well and sets up the characters well, however it runs out of steam two... Read more
Published on January 15, 2011 by Naeim G
5.0 out of 5 stars Bandit Queen
Phoolan Devi is my hero since the 90's. I like this movie version better than the previous "Phoolan Devi: The Bandit Queen of India" which was filmed before her assassination in... Read more
Published on May 16, 2010 by Donalee Wellington
5.0 out of 5 stars A story that should make every Indian ashamed and proud
One of the best movies from India. Seema Biswas' acting is incomparable. This true story should shame all apathetic Indians. Read more
Published on May 2, 2010 by Satya Shodhak
5.0 out of 5 stars Another aspect of modern India - great biography of an outstanding...
I have only recently watched this movie, that had me thoroughly captivated and mesmerized and when I realized it had been directed by the talented Shekhar Kapoor of the... Read more
Published on January 5, 2009 by Magalini Sabina
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