Manikarnika: The queen Of Jhansi

Director- Kangana Ranaut, Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi

Writer- K V Vijyendraparasad, Prasoon Joshi

Cast- Kangana Ranaut, Jisshu SenguptaAtul Kulkarni, Vaibhav Tatwawaadi, Mohammed Zeeshan ayub, Ankita Lokhande, Suresh Oberoi

Is the biographic drama on the life of the brave warrior Queen of Jhansi, Laxmibai.

Because of all the hype ,controversies and the publicity around the movie, I would say it was much anticipated.The trailers looked impressive and the story of the much revered queen is something that we were looking forward to. Add to that Kangana’s spark. So the expectation levels were high.

The story opens with a young Manu( Manikarnika) very impressively hunting down a tiger with her ace archery. The initial part of the movie goes on to tell us how she was brought up by the Peshwa of Bithoor though her father was a brahmin courtier. She was not only very well read, but a skilled warrior and a very brave and independent woman.

It was interesting to see those aspects of the life of queen whose stories we have grown up on.

She gets married to the King of Jhansi, Ganghadar Rao.

When her young son and eventually husband die , and the Britishers refuse to accept her adopted son as the legal heir to Jhansi, she chooses to take up the sword against the British. But for her, it was not just about Jhansi. She dreams of an independent Bharat free of the Britishers.

The brave queen dies in a pitched battle and choses to immolate herself rather than fall into the hands of British who wanted her alive.

The movie seemed entertaining to a certain point. Kangana was all over the frames and appeared great. Watch out for her costumes and jewellery by Neeta Lulla. But that’s where the good list ends.

The list of what was lacking is long. There was no emotional connect or nationalistic feel, or any high or low. The dialogues didn’t much help either to raise the mood. The writer was confused about what aspects of her life to concentrate on. The story included unnecessary and somewhat senseless aspects specially after her marriage to the king. The caricature like British characters, the queen speaking in flawless English, the context and explanation of the king wearing bangles, that completely out of place item number kind of dance number .. to list a few. That’s majorly where the film falters.

Between establishing her character and her taking on the British, film meandered a lot testing on our patience.

The direction seemed amateurish at places, some sequences disjointed and the detailing was not up to the mark. The most important part , that is battlefield sequences were downright shabby to say the least.

In a bid to stay around the character of queen, the rest of the characters have been completely ignored. Quite a many good actors wasted.

The movie was scripted by KV Vijyendra Prasad (Bahubali 1 &2, Bajrangi Bhaijaan) . Dialogues were by Prasoon Joshi and it was co directed by Krish and Kangana herself.

I would have to say that all the departments should take the blame.

Before the start , the film makers confess to taking cinematic liberties. While we were kind of mentally prepared for that , we expected the makers to be sure about the accuracy of facts and feel of the movie. Either they want to project it as a historical or a glorified and fantasy movie. But it seems they were confused between the two.

Kangana fans wouldn’t have much reason to complain about. She shines bright and with valour carries the film on her shoulders.. but just in the acting department.

As a maker, she left a lot to be asked for .

But we would still eagerly look forward to her next , as an actor or as a director.

Score 6 on 10

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