By Rishabh Naudiyal Last Updated:
Over the decades, Indian cinema had delivered some iconic, unforgettable, and controversial movies to society. While some films have helped develop society's mindset, some have poisoned it entirely. Some are labelled with the offence of misleading the community. There is one more category that includes the movies, which have changed the history books, acting methodology, and broke the cinematic rules. One such historical film is Bandit Queen, the biographical drama based upon the life of Indian female rights activist and bandit, Phoolan Devi. It was renowned author, Mala Sen's book, India's Bandit Queen: The True Story of Phoolan Devi that had helped the movie's director, Shekhar Kapur to dig out some never-told-before secrets about Phoolan Devi ji's life. (Recommended Read: Puja Banerjee And Kunal Verma's 3-Months-Old Son Krishiv's First Ever Full Picture With His Parents)
It was an incredibly difficult project as Shekhar Kapur was determined to present a film that would change the outlook of the Indian community. As a reason, it was an extremely tough job to take care of all the connections and names attached to Phoolan Devi's journey from being a bandit to a Member of the Parliament. Once in an interview back in 1995, Shekhar Kapur had revealed that it was a huge task to find an actress, who can pull off Phoolan Devi's character on the big screen as it was robust, filled with multiple layers. After many auditions, one day, Shekhar Kapur had seen a small scene of the film, Amshini and was stunned by the actress, Seema Biswas' raw acting skills and the rest is history. The film was shot within just 75 days in Dhaulpur, Madhya Pradesh and was released on Republic Day, i.e., January 26, 1994. The film had received a huge backlash from the audience and political parties for its controversial nude scenes, cuss words, frontal nudity, and rape sequences.
Many people had demanded a ban on the film in India and everything had changed when Phoolan Devi had herself joined the people and had warned the makers and government that she'd immolate herself in public if Bandit Queen is not banned in India. However, a lot of debate and discussions behind closed doors, according to reports, the producer of the film, Channel 4 had paid £40,000 to Phoolan Devi, and she had withdrawn her objections. But for Seema Biswas, it was a dangerous situation, as she was humiliated with unnecessary morality lectures and brutal public character assassinations. During one of her press conferences in 1994, Seema was asked to react on the hate she had received from the audience. The actress had revealed that her father, Jagdish Biswas' reaction to her explicit scenes in the film and had revealed that her father had said, "Yeh role toh hamari Seema hi kar sakti hai." The actress was delighted by her father's compliment and had said that appreciation from him was bigger than any award in this world.
However, the film, Bandit Queen had received a lot of nominations and awards across the world. From winning National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi to being premiered in the Directors' Fortnight section of the 1994 Cannes Film Festival, the film holds a Rotten Tomatoes score of 83% at the moment. After so many years, in 2015, Seema Biswas had talked about her controversial film, Bandit Queen in an interview with Bollywood Hungama and had revealed the hardships she had faced while portraying such a violent character. The actress had revealed, "It was a difficult movie both mentally and physically as we used to practise a lot of things. Every day in the morning, before shooting we used to do a lot of running. When Shekhar ji gave me the script and I read it, and it was a nightmare for me to read the nude scene. Because it was disturbing and hard-hitting but at the same time this is what I wanted to do." (Don't Miss: Hema Malini Kisses Her Newborn Daughter, Esha Deol In This Unseen Black-And-White Picture)
Going further in her interview, Seema Biswas had stated that she was in the middle of confusion as she had loved the script of the film and that's the kind of role she had dreamed of doing on the big screen, but at the same time, the nude scene was nothing less than a nightmare for her. After which, she had gone to Shekhar Kapur and asked him why it is necessary to have this nude scene in the film. Seema ji had said, "I asked Shekhar why you're doing this nude scene in the film and why is it so important for the script. And he gave me a very valid and logical answer that it's like it's so ugly. Height of humiliation, the height of inhuman and it was an ugly truth, and I'm going to show it in that way only."
After many discussions, Shekhar ji and Seema ji had agreed to complete the nude scene with the help of a body double, but it didn't make a great difference in Seema ji's life as she had faced a lot of hatred when the film was released. Although things have changed now and her performance in Bandit Queen is still regarded as one of the greatest performances in the history of Indian cinema. (Also Read: When Irrfan Khan Recalled The Moment He Saw His Son Babil For The First Time, Said 'I Have Gone Mad')
What are your views on Bandit Queen's controversial nude scenes? Let us know!