| Bandit-turned-actress Seema Parihar arrives on Tuesday. Picture by Amit Datta
Seema Parihar, former Chambal bandit who plays herself in the film Wounded, arrived in the city on Tuesday afternoon. The film was conceived in the city and its publicity campaign, too, will kick off from here, and Parihar was more than willing to be part of it.
Nearly two-and-a-half years ago, the cinematic possibilities of Parihar’s life story had first struck three men on a rainy evening in a small office at 9, Crooked Lane. They got the idea that she should play herself.
Tarun Kumar Bagchi, A.K. Joshi and Krishna Mishra, the film’s director, moved out of the city and did not leave any stone unturned for an official nod to allow Parihar to come out of jail and face the camera. They seemed to reach a deadend.
The decks were finally cleared, and after 45 days of shooting in the interiors of Chambal, the team was back in the city.
“This is a film where the real-life character makes it to reel life and narrates a story that revolves around her — the trials, deprivations and her angst against a society dominated by men,” Mishra says.
The Calcutta boy, who has earlier served as assistant to the likes of Basu Bhattacharya, was enthusiastic about his venture. “I had put in a lot of research before taking up the camera, picking up minute details of Parihar’s life — how she moved around and where she spent her early years. It’s not a commercial reproduction of the bandit’s story.”
In room 701 of her hotel, Parihar listens with rapt attention as the director speaks. Beaming in a salwar-kameez, the woman from Chambal looks up as preparations begin for her first official press conference.
“I agreed to participate because there is no attempt to distort. Life is not the way it is usually portrayed. Girls don’t run away to the jungles of Chambal by choice. Situations force them,” says Parihar.
A terror by 20, Parihar has no regrets for those “few instances” when she took up the gun — all makes from .303 to the AK series. But now she would think twice before doing so.
“I firmly believe women should unite and raise their voice against any form of oppression. Ladna hai…purey dum ke saath…” she asserts, throwing away a small posy of roses.
“We want to tell the world how a woman feels after she is subjected to male oppression,” explains Tarun Bagchi.