Apart from the bandit queen in the history of cinema, the life and struggle of rugged women dacoits could not emerge in any story. While many good films and a dozen memorable characters are found in male stories.
In Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film Baiju Bawra, Deepika Padukone has been offered the role of 'dacoit queen' Roopmati. Even before Deepika, Bollywood's legendary mail-female actors have lived the lives of dacoits on the film screen. In the past seven decades, several dozen films have come on dacoits. But only a few films succeeded in leaving a mark. The stories of women dacoits are nominal.
Bollywood showman Raj Kapoor can be considered a big contributor to increase interest in the life of dacoits. Probably he was the first to make a vagabond in the year 1951 with the dacoit Jagga (KN Singh in the role). Those who have seen the tramp know how Jagga is a big source of the film's story. Sunil Dutt was also seen as a dacoit in the World Classic "Mother India" (1957).
But Raj Kapoor's country in which the Ganges flows (1960) is a trendsetter film based on dacoits that showed Bollywood the path that has so far been a guarantee of box office success. In the country where the Ganges flows, Pran played the classical role of the robber Raka. Raka is the best character after Gabbar Singh (Amjad Khan) of Sholay.
After the country in which the Ganges flows, the dacoits became an important part of the story as an action spice in most films made on rural background. The stormy success of multi-starrer Sholay set this trend firmly. Important films based on the main story of dacoits include Mein Jeene Do (1963), Andaz (1955), Suraj (1966), Mera Gaon Mera Desh (1971), Mela (1971), Samadhi (1972), Heera (1973), Pran Jae Par Vardan Na Jaaye (1974), Patthar Aur Payal (1974), Ganga Ki Saugandh (1978), Bhola Bhala (1978), Dharam Kanta (1982), Ganga Aur Suraj (1980), Jwala Daku (1981), Dacoit ( There are many films like 1987), Jai Vikranta (1995), Paan Singh Tomar (2010) and Sonchiraya (2019).
Giants like Dilip Kumar, Rajendra Kumar, Dharmendra, Vinod Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna, Sunny Deol, Sanjay Dutt, Irrfan, Manoj Bajpayee Sushant Singh Rajput played roles. A plot of most of the film stories is taking up arms when there is no hearing against the occupation of the land, the hero is becoming a bandit to avenge the tyranny of Samats. In some stories, there was a robber in the form of a villain who kidnapped his child to take revenge on a police officer or judge.
These Bollywood films are stories of male dacoits. If you add the dacoit C grade films, which are a small part of the film plot, then this list is very long. The list can still be updated. It may be added next month with Ranbir Kapoor's period drama "Shamshera" and SS Rajamouli's action period drama "RRR" starring Ajay Devgan as the dacoit.
Well, these films are mainly on male dacoits. The female dacoits also came out of Chambal's rugged and inspired by their Bollywood-made films. If I am not mistaken, perhaps "Putulibai" is the first film of dacoits in the female lead. It was released in the year 1972. Putlibai is believed to be the first female dacoit of Chambal. She was about to dance and came in contact with the dacoit Sultana due to this profession and later fell in love with her. Putlibai's real name was Gauharbano. Sultana was killed in a police encounter. Later, Putlibai took command of the gang in his place. There is still the fantasy of Putlibai in the areas of Chambal. Jaya Mala played the role of Putlibai in the film directed by Ashok Roy. Before the year 2000, a B grade film was also released on this title.
If Deepika is playing a dacoit, then she is happy to play a challenging role. Actually, except for B grad cinema, the mainstream of Bollywood has made only a few films on female dacoits. Only a few selected actors in the form of Sridevi, Seema Vishwas, and Bhumi Pednekar have got the chance to live the character. In some films, the small female actors did the characters of the dacoits but they were for a full show. By the way, there are dozens of memorable roles of female gangsters. But speaking of the big character of the dacoit, Sridevi starrer Lioness, which came in the year 1988 after Putlibai, is important.
In Lioness, Sridevi plays the role of Durga, a banjaran girl who gets fed up with the tyranny of the Thakur of the village, picks up the gun, and takes revenge by choosing Chun. Pran has played the role of Durga's Banjara father, while Shatrughan Sinha is in the role of an honest police officer. The entire film Sridevi Akale looks on her shoulder.
Apart from the bandit queen in the history of cinema, the life and struggle of rugged women dacoits could not emerge in any story. While many good films and a dozen memorable characters are found in male stories. As the female dacoit, Seema Biswas is by far the most iconic character in cinema history. In 1996, Shekhar Kapoor made a "Bandit Queen" on the life of Phoolan Devi, who came into the limelight due to the Behmai murder case. Seema brought to life the character of Phoolan Devi, who took vengeance against oppression. Bandit was a biographical art film from Queen Quaid, but the way Shekhar Kapoor told the story and the actors acted it brought it to the box office. The film, made on a budget of about 3 crores 25 lakhs, earned more than 21 crores rupees at the box office with most of the anonymous actors. At that time, this earning is equal to or more than the famous star cast and big banner films.
Bandit Queen is the biggest character in Seema Biswas's career so far. He was appreciated internationally for the role. She also won the National Film Award for Best Actress. Two years ago, Bhumi Pednekar played a good character of the dacoit in Son Chiraiya, based on the story of Chambal's dacoits. Although the film sat at the box office, due to this, there was not much discussion of his character.
In the 90s, dozens of C-grade films were made with female leads at the center. Barring the bandit queen, the effigy be it lioness or C grade films - on the pretext of female dacoits, the makers were seen serving glamor only in spicy stories. Poor plot, poor presentation made the fate of lionesses and other films worse.
Now if Deepika does Baiju Bawra, then it will be a matter of how she will set the benchmark as a dacoit. It will be a big thing for them to reach the border trust.