Review of Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi

Film Review by Rishi Kapoor

We all have read about Jhansi ki Rani’s role during the revolt of 1857 in our history classes and the famous poem by Subhadra Chauhan “Khub Ladi Mardaani woh to Jhansi waali Ranni Thi” during our school days . Now here is a movie which revolves on the life of Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi , the first woman in the history of India who took on the might of the British Empire by igniting the first war for Independence in 1857.

Manikarnika (Kangana Ranaut) was born in a Brahmin family but raised as a Kshatriya (warrior). She was later christened Laxmibai by her husband, Maharaj Gangadhar Rao (Jisshu Sengupta) of Jhansi. Not only did the Queen of Jhansi refuse to let the British annex her princely state after her husband’s death, but this brave-heart also fought till the very end, forcing the English to acknowledge that she was indeed the most valiant warrior they had ever encountered.

Directed by Ranaut and Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi, Manikarnika achieves the simplistic ambition of saluting the legendary queen, but feels too long and a bit too cardboard. The grandeur and the detailing of the war scenes lend the movie a storybook quality and one is quite mesmerized by the scale.

KV Vijayendra Prasad, who wrote Baahubali, has done a good job on the screenplay. Prasoon Joshi has penned some fiery dialogue and lyrics with a patriotic spirit. The war sequences are tastefully choreographed .

Some of the songs are forced and could have been removed and some scenes are downright ridiculous, like when Kangana storms into British grounds to rescue a calf for her friend Jhalkaribai (Ankita Lokhande), and then gives an unblemished speech in English, when British officers try to take a dig at her for not knowing the language.

Kangana infuses soul to her character and carry the movie on her shoulders. Ankita Lokhande is determined to prove her worth as Laxmibai’s faithful companion Jhalkaribai on the big screen, and does a fair job of it. A couple of other supporting actors are good (Jisshu Sengupta and Danny Dengzonpa ) but this is all about Ranaut, really.

A good one time brush up with history

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