Bandit Queen review

Elizabeth director Shekhar Kapur’s debut tells the true-ish story of Phoolan Devi (Seema Biswas), abused wife turned India’s answer to Robin Hood. Born into a lower-caste rural family, Devi was married off to a middle-aged man when she was only 11. She survived repeated rape and physical abuse before falling in love with a bandit, joining an outlaw gang and exacting bloody revenge on her abusers. Kapur’s first queen is just as compelling and complex as the one Cate Blanchett played; as feminist icons go, Devi is somewhere between Erin Brockovich and Aileen Wournos. Sadly, the film’s production date means we miss out on her post-‘94 life, and that’s when things got /really/ interesting. (Lounge recommends a Wikipedia visit for the curious). It’s still a fascinating film with great performances, plus all the spectacular colours and costumes you’d associate with Kapur.

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