NEW DELHI, Jan. 20 -- An Indian court has ordered the controversial film 'Bandit Queen' to be withdrawn from consideration for an Oscar in the category of 'Best Foreign Language Film,' published reports said Friday. The film, widely regarded as a landmark in Indian cinema, has been the center of controversy since it was released for a restricted screening last summer.
'Bandit Queen' depicts the life of Phoolan Devi, a low-caste woman who allegedly avenged her rape by gunning down her high-caste attackers. She subsequently went underground and became the leader of a notorious group of bandits. Devi, who became known by the sobriquet 'Bandit Queen,' surrendered to authorities in 1982 and spent the next 12 years in jail before being released last year. The Delhi High Court on Thursday ordered the film's makers 'not to take any further step in connection with the nomination of the film for the Oscar Award.' Earlier, Devi requested a legal injunction against public exhibition of 'Bandit Queen,' saying the film was an inaccurate portrayal of her life and an invasion of her privacy. Citing Devi's objections, the courts have thus far prevented a general release of the film in India. The film has been shown abroad, however, and won honors in last year's Cannes Film Festival. The film has also attracted criticizm because of its graphic depiction of Devi's rape and the subsequent murder of her attackers. In India, all films must pass an official censor board before they are allowed to be screened in public.