Bandit Queen is based on the true story of legendary Phoolan Devi. Devi is married at age 11, abandoned by her husband when she resists his advances, and turned into a social outcast. Devi ultimately leads a band of latter-day Robin Hoods on bold raids against landowners in Central India during the late '70s and early '80s, often taking their spoils and redistributing them to poor tenant farmers. By the time she is arrested in 1983, Devi has become a folk hero, especially to the women who live in rural India's brutally patriarchal society. Bandit Queen painfully exposes a controversial aspect of Indian culture, while providing a triumphant portrait of female empowerment.