Kidnapped by robbers at the age of 13, Seema Parihar lived a life of robbing, killing and kidnapping in the barren wastelands of India‘s Uttar Pradesh state, until she surrendered to police in 2000.
Now, the 35-year-old former bandit, who is out on bail accused of around 30 cases of murder, robbery and kidnapping – says she wants the world to know her story.
“When I was with the gangsters, I could shoot at anybody I wanted to. But people have to choose what they want from life,” Parihar said.
“Right now I want a better life, not guns, bullets and bloodshed.”
The shooting of ‘Wounded’, directed by Krishna Mishra, the Bollywood filmmaker, is set to be released later this year.
Bollywood, the world’s largest film industry by volume and ticket sales, has a long tradition of producing bandit tales, with most of their plots revolving around injustice and revenge.
The most acclaimed bandit film is ‘Bandit Queen’, directed by Shekhar Kapur, portrayed the life of Phoolan Devi, a feared bandit-turned-politician who was murdered in 2001.
But Mishra says his film is the first of its kind.
“There have been films about the lives of the different dacoits or about dacoits so I wanted to make a different kind of film involving real dacoits, and Seema’s life inspired me,” Mishra said.
In India, bandits are referred to as dacoits, derived from a Hindi word for robber.
Mishra said it was tough getting his cast together, with Parihar in the lead role, as the actor had to be first bailed out of jail.
“Her [Parihar’s] acting is good,” Mishra said.
“You don’t expect a dacoit who spent her years holding guns to stand in front of the camera like a gorgeous heroine.”
The stern-looking, athletic bandit says she is very excited about her new acting career in India‘s glamorous film industry.
“Life just seems so normal and I’m glad that I’m acting in this movie which is based on my life, [especially] all that is untold,” said Parihar, who is facing charges for crimes, which could put her behind bars for life.