Just weeks before the release of Kangana Ranaut’s ambitious new film, Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi, the makers have unveiled the Tamil and Telugu trailers of the period drama. Speaking at the launch event in Chennai on Friday, Kangana said when she signed on for the film, she wondered how nobody had thought of making a film on Rani Laxmibai before. She said, “When I signed this film my first thought was ‘How come nobody has done a film on Jhansi ki Rani yet?’ So, I consider it a stroke of luck that I’m doing it.”
Elaborating further, she said that the makers have tried to stay as authentic as they could. “We have tried to keep the history as precise as possible. Like how Indians don’t support Indians.”
She added how in her 12-year career, she has never done anything like this film. “In my 12 years of career, I never got to do a film like this. I don’t think we make these kind of movies. Shows how indulgent we are.”
During the course of the launch event she also explained how close her own personality was to some aspects of the legendary queen. “Rani Laxmi Bai was known for her rebellious attitude. Was I able to relate to her character? Naturally. As a woman, she had gone through a lot. She got married when she was 15 or so. She was a true patriot who wanted her country to flourish. It’s an honour to be able to pay a tribute to her through our upcoming film Manikarnika.”
Manikarnika is set for a Republic Day weekend release (January 25). Written by KV Vijayendra Prasad (of Baahubali and Bajrangi Bhaijaan fame) and jointly produced by Zee Studios and Kamal Jain, the film focuses on the early life of the queen of Jhansi and culminates with her death on the battle field. In the process, it also illustrates an important aspect of modern Indian history.
Kangana Ranaut at the trailer launch of Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi in Hyderabad on January 4, 2019. Seen here, with veteran writer KV Vijayendra Prasad. (IANS)
Co-directed by Telugu director Krish and Kangana, the film has been in the news since the early days of its production, first for Kangana’s injuries during the shoots in Hyderabad and Rajasthan. Later, the film ran into trouble when Krish was replaced as director, after canning a fair length of the script, because the producers were unhappy with certain sections and wanted a few re-shoots. Soon, there was controversy about Kangana stepping in as director (to finish the remaining part and for some added patchwork) and actor Sonu Sood’s exit from the film.
However, there seems to be a genuine buzz about the film. Its Hindi trailer, launched on Gandhi Jayanti, has received a lot of attention. Its teaser, released earlier, was also well received, though Kangana’s bloodied avatar also inspired many hilarious memes on social media.