With Manikarnika, Kangana Ranaut has confirmed again why she is one of the most gifted talents in the Hindi film industry right now.

We are awestruck with Kangana’s performance in Manikarnika. Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi sets up a biosphere where the woman wages war, while the men dance and matchmake.

Ranaut is elated as she shows the men how it’s done, railing expertly while running across the backs of horses and onto that of an elephant. These are cartoonish stunts, but nothing outside the Hindi film playbook.

The film seems as factually precise as Mel Gibson’s Braveheart — which is to say it prizes the intrepid myth, and takes ’creative liberties’ to tell its story.

Directed by Ranaut and Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi, Manikarnika realizes the naive ambition of saluting the legendary queen, but feels too long and a bit too phony. However, it must be said that all our period epics look like taped theatre productions and there is a straightforward earnestness to Manikarnika, even when craft is deficient. Manikarnika feels less lavish than excessive period devastations.

The overall impact is certainly patriotic and the storytelling is structured like a engrossing film with a fair bit of blood. The best part of the movie is to see Kangana wearing a dazzling smile like a cloak of confidence, and slices down enemy soldiers with a rage that must surely have incapacitated some extras on the set.

A couple of supporting actors are good too in the movie (Jisshu Sengupta and Danny Dengzonpa provide old-school sincerity) but this is all about Ranaut.

It is a must watch movie without a miss.


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Joydev Mishra


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