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Bandit Queen, Putli Bai and more: Female dons in films, before Shraddha Kapoor’s Haseena Parkar

With Haseena Parkar releasing this Friday, we take a look at some of films on female dons that Bollywood has given us.

bollywood Updated: Sep 21, 2017 14:39 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Bandit Queen,Putli Bai,Haseena Parkar
Shraddha Kapoor plays the titular role in Haseena.

Gangsters and dons have been a favourite with Bollywood filmmakers. From Dawood Ibrahim to Arun Gawli, we have perhaps chronicled more than a dozen crime lords onscreen and most films glorify the men themselves if not their life choices. However, when it comes to portraying the female dons on silver screen, we do not have too many examples.

For almost half a century of multiple films made on male dons ranging from Haji Mastan to Dawood Ibrahim, we just have a handful of films about female dons. These include both the fictional ones and films inspired by the real life characters. Now, Shraddha Kapoor is all set to portray Dawood’s sister Haseena Parkar in Apoorva Lakhia’s eponymous film.

With Haseena Parkar releasing this Friday, we take a look at some of films on female dons that Bollywood has given us:

Bandit Queen

Based on the real life bandit Phoolan Devi, Shekhar Kapur’s 1994 film showed the grim life of Chambal dacoits. While the film was adjudged the Best Hindi Film, Seema Biswas won a National Award for her portrayal.

Putli Bai

Based on Chambal’s Gauhar Bano, the 1972 film chronicled her life. Bano is considered India’s first woman dacoit who was initially a nautch girl. She ruled the forests of Chambal between 1950 and 1956. Jaya Mala essayed the titular role in the film that proved to be a box office hit.


Considered as one of the best performances of Shabana Azmi, Godmother was the biographical story of Santokben Jadeja, who ran the mafia operations of Porbandar (Gujarat) in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The movie bagged six National Awards, including one for Shabana in 1999.


Richa Chadha was in her elements in this surprise hit where she played the role of Bholi Punjaban. The character was loosely based on Sonu Punjaban alias Geeta Arora, a flesh trade kingpin from Delhi. Richa will reprise her role for the film’s sequel that will release in December 2017.

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First Published: Sep 21, 2017 14:29 IST