Movie Bandit Queen Term Paper

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Movie, Bandit Queen

Shekhar Kapur's the Bandit Queen: Truth in art

Macbeth and Richard III are considered two of the greatest tragedies ever written in the English language. However, the historical Macbeth killed a bad, rather than a good king, and the historical Richard III never committed illicit murder to gain the throne of England. Shakespeare's versions of these historical figures, biased by his own political and national sympathies, have become so powerful that these misappropriations of historical fact have become more potent and indelible than reality itself. It is difficult to state that such historical inaccuracies invalidate Shakespeare's plays, even though it could be argued that in such cases art has obscured rather than illuminated the truth. Defenders of Shakespeare, however, would counter that the Bard's plays have a psychological truth that is deeper and more important than any version of historical fact: for history, an individual should consult a textbook, not a play.

These defenders of Shakespeare and filmmakers, who take poetic license such as director Shekhar Kapur of the Bandit Queen (1994), would argue that every artist's creation is by nature subjective. People cannot come to a play or film and expect 'reality,' given that dialogue and other incidents are obviously manufactured to make the art entertaining for the audience. Opponents of this license given to art would argue that while an artist has the right to create whatever fictional person he or she desires, it is not fair, and even dangerous to play 'fast and loose' with the facts in a film which gives an impression of historical accuracy, based upon its use of the real names of living figures. If someone wants to tell a fictional tale, they should create something from whole cloth.

Real consequences can ensue from the creation of art. Many argue, for example, that Phoolan Devi would never have been assassinated, had it not been for the film that presented her as a cold and murderous 'bandit queen.' However, even the real Devi was a legitimate celebrity during the height of her fame and not an obscure person exploited by the media. "There was a time in the early 1980s when Phoolan Devi, who led a gang of bandits in the desolate ravines of northern India, was as famous as a movie star. Little girls played with their Devi Dolls, and the media tracked her every move" (Ebert 1995). Devi was a public figure, and unlike an anonymous person, did not have a legitimate expectation of privacy.

Some biographies are undertaken with the support of the central subject. But Devi sued to have the film banned, allegedly offended by the film's sexual content and its portrayal of her seemingly unrelenting vengeance and violence (Ebert 1995). This gives rise to the question: Why were the filmmakers so determined to tell Devi's story in the manner they did, despite her anger? The… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Movie Bandit Queen.  (2011, January 18).  Retrieved January 27, 2020, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/movie-bandit-queen/245161

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"Movie Bandit Queen."  Essaytown.com.  January 18, 2011.  Accessed January 27, 2020.
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