‘Manikarnika’ Movie Review: Kangana Ranaut’s stellar performance is filled with blood, fire and tears
Directed By: Kangana Ranaut, Krish
Produced By: Zee Studios, Kamal Jain, Nishant Pitti
Cast: Kangana Ranaut, Ankita Lokhande, Jisshu Sengupta, Atul Kulkarni, Danny Denzongpa
Bollywood Bubble Rating: 3.5/5
With blood, fire and tears, Kangana Ranaut infuses life into her portrayal of ‘Manikarnika’ and makes us remember once again that the freedom that we take for granted is thanks to the sacrifices made by brave souls. In one soul stirring sequence at the end, we see Rani Laxmibai (Kangana) fighting in slow motion despite being badly injured. When the frame stops to allow you to soak in her bravery, your heart stops too – and in those few seconds, you’ll feel as if you have got your money’s worth.
The story starts with Manikarnika (brought up in Bithoor) getting married to the King of Jhansi Raja Gangadhar (Jisshu Sengupta). Gangadhar’s brother Sadashiv Rao (Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub) wants to become the king and his hopes get dashed when he finds out that Rani Laxmibai has had a son. He poisons the king and the newborn, and their death sparks of a rebellion in Jhansi. To find out what happens next, you’ll have to watch the movie.
In many ways, this is as feminist a film as it can get. Kangana is intimidating even when she is confronting a man, and a landmark scene sees her refuse to get her hair chopped off like all widows. Nowhere do we see a man coming in and bailing her out of trouble and there are many instances where she is shown as the undisputed leader of men.
As far as performances are concerned, Kangana gets all the great dialogues (I wish I had written them down, as my memory fails me at the moment) and other than her, none of the characters have much to do. The music and the background score of the movie do succeed in making your heart swell, and in rare instances, give you goosebumps. The action sequences could have been cut short, and I don’t know why they used slow motion only towards the very end.
Definitely a great family entertainer that doesn’t feel like a history lesson.