Manikarnika: When The Best Portrays The Best

The earliest memory I have of watching a  war in Indian history would probably have to be Mahabharata. Invariably, there would be what seemed like a sea of people for as far as I could look – on horses with a sword and shield. It looked too scary to be real. I would convince myself that it must be made up.

I have grown up. I have a better knowledge of history now. Still I cannot  imagine what it would be  like to get on a horse, with a sword and shield, out there for an attack, and get cut!  Then there was a lady who fought with a child tied to her back!

Sometimes, I try to place myself in that era. Would I have been brave enough? Would I have thought,

‘Sar kata sakte hain lekin sar jhuka sakte nahi’?

I don’t have an answer.  I am a very darpok person.  But I am also someone who values freedom more than anything else. Would I have given up my life for the sake of freedom of myself and my people? I guess I will never find out…

Rani Lakshmibai was a peace-loving woman.  She had principles. She did not believe in harming the innocent. But she had the responsibility of protecting her land, her home, and people.

‘Meri Jhansi nahi doongi!’

She fought bravely. She was fearless. She was a woman who stood by her principles, and fought for it, literally.

Khoob ladi mardaani, wot to Jhaansi wali Rani thi..

I was mesmerized by the movie. I love watching period films in theatre. It takes us to a different era altogether. The sets, the screenplay was very impactful. I certainly liked it better than Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movies which get so silly, tampering with history and making unnecessary love angles, two women in love with the same man, dancing together! Manikarnika has stayed quite honest to the plot. The costumes worn by Kangana were also very beautiful.  She looked absolutely majestic. In the first half though, the songs could have been reduced.

In more than one scene, the mother-in-law of Manikarnika warns her that she is too free-spirited. She must remember her ‘maryada’. She recommends her to confine herself to cooking and household.  Thankfully, Manikarnika did what she liked anyway. It made me smile.

Women who remember the maryada – Well,  they are not liked anyway no matter how much they try!

Women who violate the maryaada – have the potential of becoming great!!

Veteran actor Manoj Kumar has said after watching the movie that ‘Kangana was born to play Rani Lakshmibai’.  I could not agree more.  It is evident, she has lived and breathed every ounce of the character, since the making of the film.

Kangana has  been involved in the direction of the movie, in addition to playing the lead role.

Here is the problem:

Kangana is immensely talented. She can put most actresses of her generation to shame.  She is also very beautiful. Her skin, her features, her figure everything is perfect. Now, add to that she does not follow the rules of the industry. She does not care about being in the good books of the biggies. She speaks up against nepotism. She acts in videos mocking the industry. She says industry parties are as boring as her Dilli wali bua’s talks. She is her own person. Unapologetic.  She also is vocal about her political views.

Most countries take pride in patriotism. But our country doesn’t. Anything patriotic, is considered too ‘nationalist’ for people to support.  A brilliant movie, about a brilliant person, played by a brilliant actor should have been appreciated to say the least.

But as I read the reviews, I realized that people’s personal dislike for Kangana, and their political views have made them reach unprecedented levels of ignorance.

Quoting some lines for famous publications:

  1. “The full name of the Queen of Jhansi was Manikarnika Tambe, but the film informs us she was nicknamed Manu, like the hero of the Tanu Weds Manu movies where Ranaut found such success as Tanu”

Seriously? The movie made up the name Manu because Tanu weds Manu was successful? I have read that Manikarnika was called Manu, and no she lived long before Tanu weds Manu was released!! At least come up with better criticism!!

  1. “A little later, she saves a calf from ending up as lunch for British officers. Can a film about nationalism be complete today without an act of gauraksha?”

The liberals love animals. All animals except cows!! Of all the things in the movie, this is what they choose to comment on!

  1. “Kangana Ranaut’s Soulless Film Reduces Laxmi Bai To A Stunt Queen”

Well, sitting in AC offices, people cannot imagine what life was like then.  What did they expect in a movie about war? Yes. There was dramatization. It is cinema. Cinema that offers entertainment, as opposed to a documentary.

I would say for people who do not like Kangana Ranaut, please skip this one. Please watch Simmba. Appreciate Sara Ali Khan – who had a 10 minute role in which she played a Masterchef Bimbo.  Then go on a rant on how ‘talented’ she is, and how there is no such thing as nepotism.

Fellow Kangana fans – This is a treat to watch!

For the people who are proud of Indian history, go for it. Not for Kangana, but to watch the story of this great warrior. The woman who was fierce and fearless. We have read about her in school. But her story deserves to be seen on the big screen.

Har Har Mahadev!!

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