Set during the British Rule, Manikarnika hits the theatre with a breeze of patriotism and a surge of independence, a day before The Republic Day. The right time to watch this film would be until the atmosphere full of this energy remains in you heart.
The film begins with the minister of Jhansi spotting the elegance that is Manikarnika (Kangana Ranaut) herself. A bold, kind and extremely skilled daughter of the kingdom of Bithoor. She accepts to be the queen of Jhansi, marrying Gangadhar Rao (Jisshu Sengupta) in the process. Here, he sees the passion that Manu holds for her country and it’s struggle to freedom. Marrying into a new kingdom, Manu gets the new name of Jhansi Ki Rani Laxmi Bai. Laxmi Bai shows her compassion and dedication to ruling the kingdom as soon as she enters. Her love and connectivity to the people, wins their hearts and is frowned upon by the authorities but she continues to live by her principles.
Soon after, the news of her pregnancy spreads and it is a moment of joy when they welcome a son to the family. He is named Damodar Rao but his life doesn’t last as long. A few weeks later, the demise of her son shakes Laxmi to the core but it is soon followed by the news of her husband’s sickness. Before he passes away, he hands over the throne of Jhansi to Laxmi and asks the people to accept her as their ruler. During this, they also adopt a son from one of their minister who they then name, Damodar Rao after their own deceased son.
As soon as he meets his death, Laxmi Bai stands against the generic lifestyle of a widow during those ages and walks to the throne to give it her all. The British is informed about this and they march their way into her kingdom to dethrone her, first by peace and then by war. She takes this challenge, manages to conquer Gwalior and form an army full of every single person in the kingdom. From soldiers to women and even the farmers. With her guidance and leadership, everyone is ready to fight a war and they do.
She fights one last war against the British soldier but loses her life dedicating her life to her motherland, her country, India.
She was said to be one of the most rebellious warrior and the scariest of them all, perceived by the British. She showed the power of all Indians and their dedication to freedom to our capturers back then and it was more than enough for them to weaken against us.
- Performances: Kangana Ranaut with her command over speech, her attitude seeping through the screen and her elegance of portraying the most powerful woman in the history of India takes the show away. She saves the film solely with her power and energy. Kudos to this woman for every single effort she put into the film, including being a co-director.
- Music: The movie was a borderline musical. A song number every 20 minutes was a sort of distraction from the beauty of the film but they managed to excel into the musical aspect as well. Credit for this stays rightfully with Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.
- Direction: Although the direction couldve been taken on a much better path than it already has, Kangana herself has directed the film halfway through. Beginning with the direction by Krish, due to other work commitments, Kangana took over and managed to land her debut film as such.
The film covers the main aspect of Rani Laxmi Bai’s life, from betrayal to her struggle with freedom. Kangana owns the film like no other actor would. It is a wonder to watch her on screen being as powerful as ever.
I would personally give this film 3 chirps solely for Kangana and for honouring the memories of one of our best warriors during our freedom struggle.