Shekhar Kapur about Mala Sen


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Mumbai: Mala Sen, the one who wrote ‘Bandit Queen’, one of the finest cinematic works of India, died on Monday at the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai at the age of 64. Talking about her, Shejhar Kapur had a lot to say “I’m so relieved that she didn’t die in London. Mumbai where she passed away, is a better place to die. London and the rest of the West can be awfully clinical and detached about death. India is far more community-driven and compassionate about death.”

Remembering his collaboration with Mala Sen, he said, “Her attachment to researching on the life of Phoolan Devi was deep intense and absolute, so much so that I think in many ways she was profoundly influenced by Phoolan, especially on the question of male domination. Because of what Phoolan had gone through, Mala became passionate on the subject of male domination.”

Interesting enough, Kapur’s knowledge into Phoolan Devi was actually based entirely on Sen’s ‘Diaries of Phoolan Devi’. He wanted to say that “You see, I had no access to Phoolan. I couldn’t meet her even once because she was in jail and I was not able to disguise myself as someone else to visit her. Mala could do that. She repeatedly and regularly met Phoolan in jail posing as someone else. She spent years trying to understand Phoolan’s heart, soul and mind.”

With thinking to mach at this, Kapur wanted to say that the movie production ‘Bandit Queen’ could not have taken place without Sen’s collaboration. He even considers ‘Bandit Queen’ to be the best film he directed. “My interpretation of Phoolan’s character was entirely based on how she saw the character. I had to go entirely by Mala’s vision. And there was so much to take from Mala’s interpretation. It was almost like the two women had become bonded in pain and empathy.”

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