MANIKARNIKA THE QUEEN OF JHANSI
Director: Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi & Kangana Ranaut
Starring: Kangana Ranaut, Danny Denzongpa, Ankita Lokhande, Atul Kulkarni, Jishu Sengupta, Suresh Oberoi
Written by: Vijayendra Prasad
Dialogues: Prasoon Joshi
MANIKARNIKA The Queen Of Jhansi is the story of the legendary and brave Rani Laxmibai. The film opens during the time in India where Indian kings and queens were forced to kiss the Imperial ring. Manikarnika (Kangana Ranaut) lives in Bithoor and is a favourite of the Peshwa (Suresh Oberoi) and he has brought her up with lot of love. When Dixit Ji of Jhansi (Kulbhushan Kharbanda) learns of her after seeing Manu facing a ferocious tiger fearlessly. This and the fact that she has been trained by the peshwas makes him think that she would be a perfect match for his king Gangadhar Rao (Jishu Sengupta). Dixit Ji is aware that the British is eyeing Jhansi and wants to annexe the kingdom at any cost. He realises that her brave persona would play a crucial role in giving a tough fight to the British. The marriage takes place and that’s when she gets a new name – Laxmibai. But all this doesn’t go down well with Gangadhar’s brother Sadashiv (Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub). He is friendly with the British and wants to usurp the throne. Laxmibai, after a few years, has a son Damodar, but is unfortunately poisoned by Sadashiv; at the same time Gangadhar falls ill too. Knowing his end is near, Laxmibai adopts a son. After Gangadhar passes away, Laxmibai surprises everyone and takes the reins of Jhansi in her hands, all this while the British plan to annexe the throne. Laxmibai proclaims herself as the Queen of Jhansi and challenges the British openly. What happens next forms the rest of the film.
The film is honest and the makers have tried to make this as accurate as possible although a disclaimer at the start of the film reads that a lot of creative liberties have been taken and that the film is not 100% true to the actual history. The first half was a little slow but that was because it is setting up the characters and building up to the second half. The second half is where the pace picks up and things really get interesting.
Technically, the film is good. Cinematography by Gnana Shekar V S and Kiran Deohans is top notch and they manage to capture the emotions and everything superbly. Editing by Rameshwar S. Bhagat is good and is commendable. The action in the film is really nice and of the international standards. Music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy went with the film very well. The script is honest and does justice to the story of Rani Laxmibai. The VFX of the film especially in the critical climax war sequence is a bit of a letdown.
Performances from the cast have been great as well. Kangana Ranaut is delivers a brilliant performance and this is easily one of her best films. Jishu Sengupta does well in his supporting role. Zeeshan Ayyub is okay. Suresh Oberoi is good. Danny Denzongpa (Ghulam Ghaus Khan) is dependable as always and it’s a great sight to see him in a movie after such a long hiatus. Ankita Lokhande (Jhalkari Bai) is great and makes a mark in her debut film. Atul Kulkarni is nice. The rest of the cast offer good support as well.
Directors Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi & Kangana Ranaut have done a good job and have done justice to this film and the historical importance that it holds.
At the box-office
The film has taken a decent start and looks like is it will grow with a good word of mouth over the holiday weekend.