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Bandit Queen

4.3 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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(Dec 07, 2004)
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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.

Special Features

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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
  • Studio: KOCH LORBER FILMS
  • DVD Release Date: December 7, 2004
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002ZDPXW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,559 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Bandit Queen" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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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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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Format: VHS Tape
When I was in India my fellow travellers were all passing on copies of the book upon which this film is based. It is an extraordinary story of a woman, born into an impoverished low-caste/untouchable family, who is married off at age 11 to a man 20 years her senior. As a result of his brutal behaviour towards her, the girl runs away but her family is afraid to give her shelter because they cannot afford to repay the dowry. Ultimately, and in desperation after being turned away by other family members, the girl (Devi) joins a group of bandits who live in the hills and survive by stealing. As the only woman among these hardened outlaws Devi is brutalized almost beyond belief. I will leave it to the viewer to see how low-caste women are treated in a society that treats women badly and low-caste women horrifically.
While it would be wrong for the viewer to form the impression that all of Indian society is like that which is portrayed in the film, based on what I saw and heard in India it is a very accurate portrayal of what it is like for India's poor women. This film is extremely powerful and thought-provoking, highly recommended.
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