Tennis star Leander Paes will star in a film, End Of Bandit Queen, based on the life of Sher Singh Rana, the man who killed Indian dacoit-turned-politician Phoolan Devi. In fact, Leander already met Rana in the Patiala House court in Delhi a few days ago.
Leander, who is currently in California, was unavailable for comment. But his manager, Siddharth Chandra confirms and says, "Leander has committed to the producers of the End Of Bandit Queen. Yes, he is doing the film."
According to the film’s producer Jagbir Singh Walia, Leander is interested in doing the film, but hasn’t yet signed on the dotted line.
"Leander was really impressed with the script, which has been written by Rana. They discussed at length how the film should be made and the portrayal of Leander’s character."
The producer claims that Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen (1994) had distorted most of the facts about Phoolan, but his movie will present a real picture of the dacoit. According to Walia, Rana is a patriot and that’s why Leander is interested in the film. "He considers Rana a patriot, which is why he wants to play him in the movie. In the coming few days I will sign him for the film," he says.
Rana is currently imprisoned in Tihar Jail and is fighting two cases simultaneously. One deals with Phoolan’s murder and the other, for charges of escaping from prison.
"Rana escaped from prison in 2004 and went to Afghanistan via Bangladesh and Dubai. He landed in Afghanistan on a fake passport, which mentioned his name as Shahnawaz Khan," says Walia, adding that Rana allegedly went to the tomb of the Kshatriya king, Prithiviraj Chauhan in Ghazni and smuggled his remains back to India, while Afghanistan was being ruled by the Taliban.