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Laramie Movie Scope:
Bandit Queen

A tale of tragedy and triumph from India

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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September 14, 1996 -- "Bandit Queen" is an exceptional film out of India. It's an emotional powerhouse which shows the despicable way some women are treated in that nation and how one woman battled back.

The film is based on the true story of Phoolan Diva (played by Seema Biswas) a young girl sold to an older man as a wife. The man beats her and sexually abuses her until she runs away. Being of the low Mullah caste, she has no haven, no shelter, no way out.

She eventually links up with bandits and eventually becomes one of them. Eventually, the bandits turn on her, kill her lover and gang-rape her, but somehow, she survives and fights back again. In an awful act of revenge, she participates in the murder of 20 Thakurs in a village because they represented the caste that had brutalized her and other Mallahs.

As the leader of a gang of bandits she became a folk hero in her nation, a symbol of to all downtrodden women in India. Although most of her band was hunted down and killed, she managed once again to survive. She surrendered, but ends up getting the last laugh on her captors.

Although the "Bandit Queen" is a film loaded with violence and hatred, it is also an affirmation of the durability of the human spirit. Phoolan Diva is far from perfect, but it is a miracle she survived at all and managed to maintain any semblance of sanity after all she went through.

For more information about this film and also for information and photos and news of the real Phoolan Diva click on the link to Phoolan Diva. This site also has other reviews of the film. According to a story that can been accessed through this page, Phoolan Diva was eventually released from prison and was twice elected to the Indian Parliament, but was later murdered on July 25, 2001.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1996 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)