Phoolan is a documentary film about the extraordinary life of an illiterate village girl, gang-rape survivor, bandit and finally parliamentarian. It has been nominated for the 2017 My Hero Film Festival. It is the story of one woman’s fight against incredible odds for justice and dignity. Known as India’s Bandit Queen, Phoolan Devi is considered by many to be one of the most extraordinary and controversial women of our time.
Mula Devi is ‘Bandit Queen’ Phoolan Devi’s mother. Ramkali, Phoolan Devi’s sister, brings home Rs 300-400 a month doing MNREGA work. Mula Devi hasn’t met anyone wearing “suit-boot” in years. And when the visitor gives the 70-year-old Rs 200 after she says she hasn’t eaten properly in days, her eyes well up. She quietly shuffles inside her hut, which is bandaged into standing up with bits of cloth and plastic, puts the money in a tin box and sends a prayer heavenwards. No one these days believes Mula Devi is ‘Bandit Queen’ Phoolan Devi’s mother. When Phoolan lived and ruled in Chambal in the early 1980, people around these parts would greet Mula Devi whenever she ventured out. There would be a stream of visitors. There was food and clothes. She is left only with rags and memories now.
Lady Jamil Kharazi is the Senior Executive of the Phoolan documentary project now nominated at the My Hero Film Festival.