Gayathiri Kahemadasa, daughter of Sri Lanka’s iconic composer Premasiri Khemadasa will compose music for the “Untouchable Opera” based on the story Phoolan Devi, India’s Bandit Queen in a Toronto performance on Friday.
Kahemadasa was the first woman to score music in a film in Sri Lanka and was trained as a pianist at the Prague Conservatory and in 2011 she was awarded a Fulbright Professional Scholarship to write the opera Phoolan Devi which was performed at Wesleyan University, Dartmouth, Cal State in the US, in Toronto and Sri Lanka, according to a citation on phoolandeviopera.com.
Phoolan Devi was legendary character in modern South Asian history, often described as a champion of the poor, she was born into a low caste in India, she was abused at a young age, disowned by her husband and joined a bandit gang. She was later implicated in the massacre of 22 men, spent time in jail and elected a member of parliament in 1996. In 2001, Phoolan Devi was shot dead outside her home in Delhi.