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Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi Review

U/A Biography, Epic 2 hrs 53 mins Jan 25, 2019





Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi Review & Rating


Manikarnika Review: A Missed Opportunity Yet Good Tribute To The Queen

The Premise 

It was a surprise of sorts when Tollywood director Radhakrishna Jagarlamudi aka Krish was associated with the historical action drama (biopic is a fashionable word for this film) with Kangana Ranaut as the fabled Queen of Jhansi. But it was also a surprise as the director proved himself adept at handling projects of this scale and grandeur with his previous two Telugu films Kanche (a second world war drama) and Gautamiputra Satakarni (the historical action drama about the famous Satakarni King). 

And who can pull off a character the magnitude of Rani Lakshmi Bai than Kangana Ranaut , the unofficial queen of Bollywood? She is one actress who proved beyond doubts that she can make any role tick on the screen with her sheer personal will. Now, with the story and script written by Baahubali writer Vijayendra Prasad, we have a sumptuous meal on the plate. The only question is: are the ingredients fresh and blended in right proportions? Let's dive into Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi review. 

Manikarnika to the Queen of Jhansi

Manikarnika is a brave girl right from her infancy. The fact is established with a customary well choreographed action sequence where she hunts down a tiger (ah the poor animal still gives heroic elevation to its tamers) after the regal narration from Amitabh Bachchan with all the patriotic fervour in his equally legendary baritone voice. A great beginning we have to say. Kangana is fierce in the action sequences. And she looked imposingly handsome as the young woman who is about to be thrown into the biggest turmoil in life. 

Manikarnika aka Manu is married to the King of Jhansi, Gangadhar Rao (Jisshu Sengupta whose presence itself elevates the characters he portrays). A word on the British. Lord Dalhousie's Doctrine of Lapse, the notorious law where an Indian kingdom without an heir had to relinquish itself to the British East India Company, was in full swing. The British East India Company was waiting like the vultures to bring Jhansi into their rule. Unfortunately for the King and Queen and in turn for their people, they fail to beget a successor. 

Gangadhar Rao dies and just before that they royal couple adopts a son who becomes the defacto king and the onus is on the queen to protect Jhansi and and in turn freedom of her people. But the British never relent. They do everything in their capacity to displace the Rani and conquer the Kingdom of Jhansi. Internal turmoil and external oppression makes the now Rani Lakshmi Bai to fight with all her might against the Company. And we know how it all ended and the part played by the 1857 revolution in the nationalist spirit of India and India's Freedom Fight. 

​​​​​​Direction Debate

How much did Krish directed the film and to what extent Kangana Ranaut imposed her vision in the final proceedings is not known. The versions will also be blurred mix of two perspectives when they are blurted out in the future. But one thing is certain. Krish missed the eternal glory of making such a film on the life of the Rani and Kangana's role will forever be could-have-been-better than sharing the screen credits. But the overall direction in the film is quite good. Kudos Kangana and Krish. The Two K's delivered ample thrill and brief history for the younger generations with this film. 


It is the writing which ails the audience with a keen eye. The first half is used as a setup and appears like a hagiography of the young Manikarnika. The real action starts in the second half but the choreographed action sequences dominate the screen time. There is no real drama nor is there any emotional connect except what we all feel for the Rani of Jhansi herself as a brave soul who sacrificed her life for freedom fight. While the narration is good and attention inducing, the screenplay looks disjointed. But the overall work by Vijayendra Prasad is good enough. 

Kangana Rules

When it comes it performances, it is Kangana's one woman show. She or her shadow is present in each and every scene including the opening narration given by Amitabh. But the others, including legends like Danny Denzongpa were dwarfed by their limited screen time and character arcs. Still, Danny oozes his fabled majestic charisma on the screen as Ghulam Ghaus Khan. Suresh Oberoi is passable as Bajirao II. 

Atul Kulkarni's Tatya Tope is evidently underwritten. Richard Keep who played General Hugh Rose is a caricature. He made the character tick nevertheless is a good thing. The highly talked about Ankita Lokhande didn't as any weight to the role. On the contrary it is Jhalkari Bai who helped her get the limelight. Yet, Ankita is good in when wielding the sword as we have been given the dose of how she trained for the role. Acting isn't just about acrobatics after all. 

Rest of the actors including the women who played the soldiers and those who played the British (company) soldiers are good to average. For god's sake, giving fake/funny accents to the British roles should be stopped. Either use subtitles with English dialogue. Or use Hindi/local dialogue with a note in the beginning saying for the convenience of the common audience, were using the local language. In the changing times, technique should also be changed. 

The Crew

The music by the legendary threesome Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is terrific and elevating. The songs are chest thumpingly good and the background score is top notch. A job well done by the experts. The cinematography is refreshingly good. The frames and angles are clean and distortion free. But there should have been a rawness to the visuals than typical Bollywood gloss. Whose decision? We couldn't know. The editing could have been better with a good 20 minutes cut from the final output as the film feels overbearingly long by the time two-thirds of it is rolled out. 

The visual effects are not up to the par. No, not saying they are outrightly bad. But they are not good either. We can easily catch the missing links. The production design is grand deserving of the life of Rani Lakshmi Bai but the unnecessary Bolly gloss marred the experience here too. The production values are first rate. The producers should be commended for coming up with such a scale for the film. 


Manikarnika is a good film about a great Queen whose life and fight for freedom still inspires millions world over. The Indian Pride. But the makers missed a golden opportunity of making this film a deft commentary on the present day life by resorting to the escape route of adding more action than required drama. The dialogues bordered on jingoism than realism. But still the patriotic element is well captured by Prasoon Joshi. A good one time watch this weekend. And nothing more. 


  • Kangana Ranaut
  • The story of Rani Lakshmi Bai
  • Engrossing moments


  • Screenplay lacks the punch
  • Unnecessary Bollywood gloss 

Pycker Rating: 3 out of 5

Tailpiece: A recommended watch to knkw about the Rani of Jhansi to an extent. 

Reviewed by: GitacharYa 

Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi Critic Reviews

Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi User Reviews

  • G

    25 Jan 19 @ 11:25 AM

    Good film but not as great as it was expected to be

  • G

    25 Jan 19 @ 11:25 AM

    Good film but not as great as it was expected to be

  • Kshitij

    26 Jan 19 @ 5:45 PM

Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi Live Updates & Public Talk

Finally, the day of Manikarnika has come and Kangana Ranaut's Queen of Jhansi is garnering a great word of mouth support with the occupancy increasing with each show passing. The unanimous verdict is that Ms. Ranaut nailed the role of Rani Lakshmi Bai like nobody did in the past and the film despite its flaws is a worthy tribute to the great Queen of Jhansi. The scale of the movie is grand, the second half is awe-inspiring, and the climax is brilliant. The performances, action sequences, cinematography, the feeling of patriotism was all too perfect. The team must be commended for such a film. 

The move is for every woman who is a warrior within to fight her battles on the path to freedom. For every little girl who represents Rani Laxmi Bai. The fearless human who inspires & has infinite love for our beloved country. Yesterday & today her spirit continues. It is a tour-de-force from Kangana with her imposing performance and is aptly supported by Ankita Lokhande. Kangana Ranaut especially owns each and every scene with complete perfection. According to some of the early watchers, the movie is a masterpiece and should not be missed. 

The second half will keep you glued to your seats! Commendable roles played by everyone starring in this movie. It is quite an experience watching Kangana playing the rebel. Each and every scene of Manikarnika looks rich and the film has all the makings of a blockbuster. BGM, Screenplay, Dialogues, everything was impressive. It's a must watch!

Keep watching for more Manikarnika public talk and live updates. 

Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi Preview

What is Manikarnika About?

The pride of India! One of India's first freedom fighters who was immortalized for her great deeds and fierce battle to keep the Britishers in their rightful place. That is, out of India (and its kingdoms). Radhakrishna Jagarlamudi aka Krish, the acclaimed Tollywood director started the film with Kangana Ranaut as the Rani of Jhansi and in his absence, Kangana Ranaut took the reigns of the project and shares the directorial credits. So, another historical aspect of this film is that a female director helming an historical epic of such huge scale for the first time proper.

Another big plus for this film is the presence of K. V. Vijayendra Prasad, known for Baahubali and Bajrangi Bhaijaan, as the screenwriter. he also provided the story for the film. With an acclaimed star cast and top of the line technicians, Zee Studios proudly presents Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi. The film is expected to cover basically the entire life span of the great queen Rani Lakshmi Bai who was known as Manikarnika or Manu in her earlier life. It also touches the life and times of the lesser known brave warrior Jhalkaribai who helped the Rani in the battle.

Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi Promises

An epic retelling of the life and times of Jhansi Ki Rani

The life of Rani Lakshmi Bai or Jhansi Ki Rani is fascinating is an understatement. She was brave, all right but it is her spirit which still inspires millions even today after more than a century is what matters most. She was the representation of not just India's (early) freedom struggle but the idea of freedom itself.

Such was the way she was (rightfully) immortalized by the historians and the artists who sang her glory. Never before a film attempted to tell her story on such a huge story with a top actress essaying it. With an actress of Kangana Ranaut's stature, Manikarnika is surely going to be an epic experience.

Kangana Ranaut the lifeblood

The maverick actress Kangana Ranaut has put her heart and soul for the film. The film has a chequered production time what with the initial director Krish leaving the film midway and several literal battles Kangana had to wage both for making the film in time and for the crew who were said to be underpaid or not paid on time. With sheer grit and guts like the Rani herself, Kangana stood up for the betterment of the film.

As an actress, none can beat the fierce intensity she brings to the screen for such a huge role. She literally became the Rani while working for the film. She appears to have brought all her best qualities as an actress and the same intensity into the direction. That she shares the directorial credits apart from acting in such a big film makes for an interesting tale. What about a film on the making of Manikarnika? Anyone?

Team Assembled by Zee Studios

First, we have to talk about the story and screenwriter of Manikarnika. With several blockbusters already in his kitty, Vijayendra Prasad made a huge impact on Indian Cinema with back to back blockbusters in the form of Baahubali: The Beginning and Bajrangi Bhaijaan as much as its cast and director. That he is associated with the film is a virtual guarantee for a great cinematic experience with Manikarnika.

The acclaimed trio of music directors Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy composed the songs for this film and based on their track record and from what is evidenced by the audio, they did a splendid job. Prasoon Joshi wrote the dialogues and songs for this film which augurs well for it. Kiran Deohans and Gnana Shekar VS’ cinematography is spectacular and brings an epic look for the film. Releasing simultaneously in Telugu and Tamil, Manikarnika is a film not to be missed at any cost.

Stay tuned for Manikarnika review, rating, and complete analysis. Make sure to bookmark Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi movie page.