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|Movie Cast||Kangana Ranaut,Ankita Lokhande,Richard Keep,Jisshu Sengupta|
|Director||Krish, Kangana Ranaut|
|Production Company||Kamal Jain and Nishant Pitti.|
|Release Date||January 25, 2019|
Jhansi ki Rani Lakshmi Bai is one of the most popular heroes of the freedom struggle of India. She’s worshipped in the history books too. All that adoration when made into a film makes us to expect some pumping of adrenaline with patriotism. Manikarnika, starring Kangana Ranaut is the biopic of Laxmi Bai from the birth till being a martyr. Directed by Krish Jagarlamudi as well as Kangana Ranaut (some portions and post production), the film nowhere matches to the heroism and glory we have heard in our childhood.
The movie begins in Varanasi where a girl Manikarnika is born a Brahmin family. However, the king of Bithoor where her father works in the Peshwa court treats her like his daughter. Manikarnika has all the panache and skills of a warrior. Her thoughts are bold, independent and yet soft at heart. She is married to the king of Jhansi, Gangadhar Rao. He renames her Lakshmi Bai and she soon becomes the favorite of the masses because she believes ruling is serving. Gangadhar Rao is a namesake king with no interest in valor. On the other hand, increasing popularity and the British Company’s atrocities make her stand for the Jhansi kingdom. The husband faces a premature death, and Lakshmi Bai takes over the throne to become the ruler of Jhansi. The rest of the film is about struggle for azaadi.
The film starts palely with an absolutely no buildup scene of the introduction of Manikarnika. Unconventional, but sorry it didn’t work here. The movie’s first half shows more about the personality of Lakshmi Bai. There are some scenes which do make an impact, especially whenever there is a faceoff and dialoguebaazi between Lakshmi Bai and a British guy. The second half is totally about the battles and the war field. The war and the action scenes hardly provide any high. They just keep happening and become monotonous. The action choreography should have been a lot better. The biggest minus of the film is its screenplay. An important icon of the freedom struggle was presented in a very tepid manner. There is absolutely no adrenaline. The background score is weak too. None of the factors could elevate the scenes in required amounts.
Performances wise, Kangana has given a sincere and convincing performance. Playing a woman warrior is tricky job. One can easily overdo it. Kangana does it with élan. The rest of the cast have nothing much to do or probably they could have done but there is no impact. The Lakshmi Bai’s husband role is boring to the core. The music of the film is terrible. On top of it there are multiple tracks that make the already long film lengthier.
The cinematography and the VFX are decent in the film, except in the climax. The production design is impressive. However, after watching so many period dramas, now these sets have become monotonous, where there is nothing new to get awe-inspired.
To sum it up, Manikarnika is a failed attempt and an opportunity lost.