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Bandit Queen – the Opera of her Life

Bandit Queen – The opera

Remembering The Bandit Queen

Phoolan Devi, India’s  notorious Bandit Queen, was gunned down at the age of 37  - yet she continues to live on in the popular imagination. Rape victim and avenging angel, oppressor and oppressed, she finally won respectability, embraced Buddhism, and a seat in Parliament before a barrage of bullets ended it all.

Vengeance. Rape. Murder. Bloodshed. Violence. Her short, chaotic  life was indeed the stuff of melodrama, and several artistic ventures have tried to capture its turbulence. One of the most successful was Shekhar Kapur’s memorable film ‘Bandit Queen’ which won international fame for both the director and for Seema Biswas’s powerful portrayal.

There is a continuing fascination with Phoolan Devi’s life, and in her latest avatar she is the central figure in an opera. ‘Phoolan Devi: The Bandit Queen’ is a multi-media chamber opera in the making, co-sponsored by the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) and Da Capo Chamber Players. It is composed by Shirish Korde, has a libretto by Anushree Roy and is directed by Tom Diamond, with choreography by Nandini Sikand.

On a recent evening in Manhattan, Aroon Shivdasani, the Director of IAAC, had invited several New Yorkers to the Saffron Art Space to meet with the creative team behind the opera, over wine and cheese.

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The bandit queen’s arias


Phoolan Devi comes to life in an opera to be staged next year in New York

Phoolan Devi, India's notorious Bandit Queen, continues to live on in popular imagination. Rape victim and avenging angel, oppressor and oppressed, she finally won respectability, and a seat in Parliament, embraced Buddhism, before a barrage of bullets ended it all in 2001. She was 37.
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The Indo-American Arts Council is a 501 ©3 not-for-profit secular arts organization passionately dedicated to promoting, showcasing and building an awareness of artists of Indian origin in the performing arts, visual arts, literary arts and folk arts. For information please visit www.iaac.us.
 
 
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