(18) 115min (Metrodome)
Made in 1994 Shekhar Kapur’s (Elizabeth) brutal retelling of the true story of Phoolan Devi, India’s only modern day female outlaw is still a compellingly tough watch.
Jailed in 1983 and released in the year Bandit Queen hit cinemas, Devi’s story is an emotional and distressing one which Kapur captures with rare sensitivity. For one particular scene of horror which most directors would zero in on, Kapur’s camera instead retreats and shows the tranquil domestic life surrounding such abuses - the banality of evil illustrated by formally thoughtful filmmaking. He directs here with elegance and assuredness: two ‘regal’ qualities that would seem to counter the rough and tumble of the material but that work surprisingly well. With a powerful central performance from Seemas Biswas and some truly epic lensmanship from popular Bollywood cinematographer Ashok Mehta, Bandit Queen is well worth hitting the trail with. Minimal extras.