|History and culture has always fascinated me. Even in school, history was one of my favourite subjects. This week releases Manikarnika, the story of the braveheart Rani Lakshmibai, straight out of the history text books. This movie has gone through its share of ups and downs during its making. However, it is the end product that matters….is it any good? Lets find out.|
Manikarnika is a historical biopic based on the life of Rani Lakshmibai who lead one of India’s first wars against the British empire. The story is good but there is only so much you can do in a biopic. The screenplay is a slow burn. It takes time to buildup amidst the songs in the first hour which further slacken the pace. But it is all worth it as the action shifts to battlegrounds in the second hour. Having said that, the long second half does drag a bit too. The jingoistic dialogues are crackling, a few of which met with a rousing applause from a packed house. The music is quite good. A film like this deserves to be mounted on a huge scale but you can almost make out the budget running out with the inconsistent vfx which was quite insipid. It is said that about 70% of the movie is directed by Kangana Ranaut herself while the rest is directed by Krishh. The story telling is quite good but the directors falter in the technical department!
The veterans Kulbhushan Kharbanda and Danny Denzongpa have done a great job. Ankita Lokhande makes an impressive debut. Atul Kulkarni, Suresh Oberoi, Vaibhav Tatwawaadi all have their moments although with limitations. The British actors disappoint! But it is another towering performance from the ‘Queen’ herself, Kangana Ranaut. She overpowers the director in her to give a memorable performance. And boy, how well does she handle the sword! She is truely the hero and soul of this movie!
Despite its flaws and being a slow burn, Manikarnika deserves to be watched. What better occassion on India’s 70th Republic Day! Go live that part of history all over again! And these lines aptly summarize it, “Khoob ladi mardaani woh toh Jhansi wali Rani thi”.