Bandit Queen Analysis

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National identity, that sense of cohesion on a national scale as a unified whole, given to its people through culture, language, tradition; and of course varying depending on the different echelons of society within a nation. In the case of country India these boundaries are set rather firmly in light of the social stratification known as the caste system. Caste in its simplest form being a system of social ranking that is predetermined to one’s birth. In the film Bandit Queen, this is called into question, and if one were to critique the film in relation to this pieces outline, it would seem that rather than giving one a sense of any one dominant construction of national identity it opposingly, due to this form of social structure, gives…show more content…
Poof enough in the actual viewing of the feature, but more abruptly and to the point in it’s opening statement, “Animals, drums, illiterates, low castes and women are worthy of being beaten” (Kapur, 1994) This being said, one can clearly see that the divisions set in the film are of a historical nature and are rooted strongly in both the nations culture and tradition, the introductory passage being a quote from the “Manu Smriti” a book of Hindu religious scriptures. Such set in stone ideas surrounding one’s economic position is a heavy subject matter to undertake given the vast populous of India. However the film handles it delicately and quite elegantly for that matter as perhaps best put in the Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema,

“The harrowing although in the end heroic story of Phoolan Devi,” — “is represented by Kapur in an intensely emotional movie drawing on a wide variety of generic elements ranging from socialist realist posturing via action movies to lyrical and, at crucial moments, impressively reserved and elliptical scenes more commonly associated with the art cinema.” (Rajadhyaksha & Willemen, 1999,
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Often when we think of the Indian film industry the stereotypical Bollywood musical comes to mind. However, this film has a more westernised look to it, which one would most defiantly agree elevates the subject matter of it as opposed to being that of their run of the mill musicals. As put in Past and Present: National Identity and the British Historical Film, “With its graphic scenes of sexual violence and its coarse, rough-dyed visual style, Bandit Queen was about as far removed from the fantasy world of ‘Bollywood’ films as can be imagined.” (Chapman, 2005, p.302) In turn what this does is make the film more viewable for a universal audience, allowing them to question the national identity of India. It’s third world normality being something perhaps barbaric to our first world eyes, “—the visualisation of rape in the film Bandit Queen may play into the colonial idea that the Third World is a site of “monstrosity,” a link that affirms the idea that the West is orderly and civilised.” (Hesford, & Kozol, 2000, p.33) So to conclude this film could be considered quite the important piece of social commentary as it brought to the big screen the sheer backwardness and primitive ideology surrounding Indian society in the not too distant past. It could even be argued that the film is somewhat lacking

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