From director Ketan Mehta to actor Sonu Sood to the film's direction, Manikarna was in the news throughout its filming
The trailer of Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi left fans waiting for more. The film is based on the life of warrior queen Laxmibai, and Kangana Ranaut has played the lead role in Manikarnika. Produced by Zee Studios and Kamal Jain, the period drama is one of the most anticipated films of 2019. However, after taking the controversies head on, the film is all set to release on January 25, 2019 in over 50 countries. Vijayendra Prasad of Baahubali has written the story and screenplay of Manikarnika while Prasoon Joshi was roped in to pen the dialogue and lyrics. The ensemble cast of the film boasts of Danny Denzongpa, Ankita Lokhande, Richard Keep, Danny Denzongpa, Jisshu Sengupta, Atul Kulkarni, Yash Tonk, Suresh Oberoi and Amit Behl.
However, it was controversies that kept the film in news throughout its filming.
Director Ketan Mehta Accuses Kangana Ranaut of ‘hijacking’ his dream project
In May 2017, director Ketan Mehta of Mangal Pandey and Manjhi, The Mountain Man fame, had sent Kangana Ranaut a notice for ‘hijacking’ his project, Rani of Jhansi: The Warrior Queen. He had alleged that Kangana had committed to doing his film on the freedom fighter when he had approached Ranaut in June 2015 for the same role. Ranaut’s lawyer spoke to SpotboyE to deny the accusations by Mehta. The statement pointed out that neither were there any agreements or contracts signed with Mehta nor were there any similarities with the story or screenplay with both projects. Mehta told PTI that there was “no curiosity” for him to watch the film now.
Ranaut takes over as director of the film
In August 2018, it was reported that since and there were still some patchwork scenes for Manikarnika left, the actress, unwilling to compromise on the film and as a result had taken over the direction of the film. The film’s director Krish had got busy with another film which is based on politician NT Rama Rao and stars Nandamuri Balakrishnan and Vidya Balan as his wife Basavatarakam. Several reports stated had suggested that director Krish Jagarlamudi had actually quit the project, after seeing a picture of a clapboard with Kangana’s name in it as the director, went viral. However, statement was released by film’s team saying that Krish still remained the director of the film, but was focusing on some other project and, Kangana is directing the portions still pending to complete Manikarnika. In October 2018, it was confirmed that Ranaut will be sharing the credit for the director of the film with Krish, a report by Spotboye said.
Actor Sonu Sood walks out the film
In September 2018, actor Sonu Sood quit the film. As a response, the film’s leading actress Kangana Ranaut accused Sonu Sood of male chauvinism, saying that Sood did not want to work under a female (Ranaut) director, reported Pinkvilla. Sonu then later has clarified that he it was “scheduling conflicts” and not due to the “gender of the director”, Hindustan Times reported As per Sood’s spokesperson, Sood was filming Ranveer Singh’s Simmba when Ranaut requested for a reshoot of some portions for Manikarnika. However, since the actor at that time was sporting a bearded look for Simmba, he asked Manikarnika makers to reschedule it. However, it did not work out. Actor Zeeshan Ayyub took over Sood’s role of Maratha Army commander-in chief Sadhashivrao Bhau.
“Kangana is a dear friend and she will always remain one but this constant playing the woman card, the victim card and making this entire issue about male chauvinism is ridiculous,” he was quoted as saying in a report by India Today.
Following Sood, another actress quit the film
In September 2018, Actress Swati Semwal, who was last seen in Rajkummar Rao and Ayushmann Khurrana-starrer “Bareilly Ki Barfi” also quit Kangana Ranaut’s Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi citing concerns over her role. Semwal was roped in to play the character of Parvati, who was the wife of Maratha Army commander-in-chief Sadhashivrao Bhau, a role which also was supposed to be played by Sonu Sood.
Brahmin group ‘Sarv Brahmin Mahasabha’ Accuses Manikarnika makers of historical inaccuracy
In February 2018, Brahmin group ‘Sarv Brahmin Mahasabha’ from Rajasthan has raised objection over the film, alleging it features a romantic scene between Rani Laxmibai and a British East India company agent. Mahasabha’s president had even met with Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh, in this regard, the reports said. The objection led to fears that the film was going the “Padmavat” way. The protests against Manikarnika were finally withdrawn after the producer of the film Kamal Jain held a meeting with Sarv Brahmin Mahasabha Chairperson Suresh Mishra and gave him an assurance in writing that historical accuracy will not be comprised with in the film.