Bandit Queen is an Indian biography based on the novel “India’s Bandit Queen: The True Story of Phoolan Devi” written by a London-based Indian journalist, Mala Sen. The movie was directed by Shekhar Kapur and the lead role was played by Seema Biswas. Bandit Queen was produced in 1994. It was banned by censor board as it involved “vulgarity, nudity, sexual content, and slangs.” The movie is based on the life of Phoolan Devi, a bandit turned politician. Phoolan Devi was born to a low caste family in Uttar Pradesh. She was subjected to sexual abuse by her husband who was elder to her. She was kidnapped by a gang of bandits who were ordered to kill her. They were shocked to see a young girl and they refused to do so.
The leader of the gang fell in love with her and she got married to him. Phoolan’s lover got shot in a gunfight. She was kidnapped and raped by rival gang members. To seek revenge, she went back to the village with her trusted gang members. 22 Rajput men were shot dead. Phoolan Devi and few gang members surrendered in the year 1983. She was charged with several murder cases, arson, kidnapping, etc. Phoolan Devi was released 1994 and cleared of all charges. She stood for election and got elected twice to Lok Sabha as a candidate of the Samajwadi party.
The movie Bandit Queen was criticized by Phoolan Devi herself as it was riddled with mistakes and involved episodes which didn’t even happen. She complained that the director and producer denied her to see the movie and she told the producer’s wife that she would take all of them to the court. Phoolan Devi said that the producer and the director wanted to “use my name to sell a fake story to the world. Why else haven’t they shown it to me?”
The film won many awards: Filmfare Critics Award for Best Movie and Best Direction, National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi but it was banned by the Indian Censor Board.
Phoolan Devi died on 25th of July, 2001. She was shot by three masked men in New Delhi.