BY STAFF REPORTER, NEW YORK: The Warrior Queen of Jhansi tells the true story of the legendary Rani of Jhansi, a feminist icon in India and a fearless freedom fighter. In 1857 India, this 24-year old General led her people into battle against the British Empire earning the reputation as the Joan of Arc of the East. This real-life Wonder Woman’s insurrection shifted the balance of power in the region and set in motion the demise of the notorious British East India Company and the beginning of the British Raj under Queen Victoria.
Now her story is screening in USA and Canada and presents a salute to this iconic warrior whose empowered spirit continues to stay relevant 180 years post her demise.
Distributed by Roadside Attractions, the film was screened at the Metrograph on November 13th and was attended by cast Devika Bhise, Jodhi May, Ben Lamb and Ajinkya Deo along with Director, Writer and Producer Swati Bhise.
The Warrior Queen of Jhansi illustrates the story of how the Rani and her troops defended Jhansi against the ruthless greed of the British East India Company as it attempts the annexation of the province. Formed originally to forge trading routes into Asia, this British outfit had become increasingly powerful in the sub-continent during the 1800s.
“It’s not just about the Rani,” says Swati. “It’s about the East India Company, ostensibly a mercantile power, which was in fact a corporation with a royal charter to commercially exploit India with a royally sanctioned army that would enforce EIC ‘treaties’ by force.”
At the event, the “Spirit of The Rani” award was presented to activist and civil rights attorney Monica Ramirez for her remarkable work in the eradication of gender-based violence and the promotion of gender equity and Yari Blanco for her incredible work in founding The Girl Mob and other diversity initiatives at The Wing and other media platforms.
The screening was followed by an engaging conversation with the director and cast about the journey of making the film with Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani, Emmy-nominated correspondent, producer and writer.
“This is a film I want to share globally,” said Swati Bhise. “Her story crosses country, culture and gender as it resonates on every level of humanity, strength and endurance. It is a story of female empowerment, more relevant now than ever, and can be drawn upon to inspire women all around the world. Cayenne Pepper Production, and its team, is proud to bring the real wonder woman onto the global platform from 1857 to 2019.”