Kangana Ranut tore a page from history to essay the role of Manikarnika. The film is a homage to a historic personality Mankarnika(wife of Raja of Jhansi) also known as Rani Laxmibai . She rose against British rule in 1857 and waged a war against them.
It was extremely commendable to see Kangana play a character that can only be found in literature, even so she has done an excellent job. She comes off as a fierce warrior,which is extremely captivating and compelling. Her performance has proven that she without doubt can carry the weight of the entire film on her shoulders. Her public persona as a rebellious women transcends into Manikarnika in many ways.
Manikarnika calls out society’s norms and refuses to live the life of a widow. In order to increase the strength of her army she trains women warriors. The film is a perfect example of how cinema can play a role in women empowerment.
The period film has breath taking costumes. During the first half of the film we see Kangana wearing pastel pink Sarees indicating love and compassion. The first half of the film is spent in introduction of characters and the action takes place in the second half. As we see Kangana enter the war zone, there is a shift in her dressing accordingly. She is seen wearing earth tones like red, brown, green and black. These represent energy, power and strength.
The supporting cast’s presence in the film is very minimal. When the female protagonist is shown as a symbol of bravery, people associated with her should not be shown the opposite. having said that, the husband of Manikarnika Gangadhar Rao(Jisshu Sengupta) is shown as a weak emperor is a bit odd. Danny Denzongpa as Ghulam Ghaus Khan on the other hand is very impressive.
The screenplay is written by the Bahubali’s Vijayendra Prasad. Unlike Bahubali, this one is a bit stretched. Combining factual events with fiction can be tricky which is probably the reason the screenplay did not work out that well.
Music overall is well composed by Shankar, Ahsan , Loy, however it would have been great if the placement of the sound tracks would have been situational.
The action sequence of the film are extremely well directed by Nick Powell, who has also contributed to well known Hollywood films like Gladiator and the Last Samurai.The cinematography of the film is absolutely beautiful especially the scenes in which Kangana is seen riding a horse is stupendous. The visual effects of the film fail to live up to expectations, as they come off as too obvious and reek of poor quality. This is a major drawback as the effects fail to create the required impact.
The 125 crore film has not received a good opening in India, if it manages to secure 140 crore only then it can be considered a hit film otherwise average. Despite the average response at the box office so far, this movie has received a lot of raves from critics.
Over time Indian film makers have mastered the art of bringing forth history, art and strong female characters like Jodha Akbar and Padmavat. Manikarnika is yet another feather in the cap!
Watch our film critic Rabia Hasan break it down here :