Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi

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Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi
Manikarnika Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKangana Ranaut
Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi
Produced byZee Studios
Kamal Jain
Nishant Pitti
Written byPrasoon Joshi
Screenplay byK. V. Vijayendra Prasad
StarringKangana Ranaut
Atul Kulkarni
Jisshu Sengupta
Vaibhav Tatwawaadi
Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub
Ankita Lokhande
Narrated byAmitabh Bachchan
Music bySongs:
Sanchit Balhara
Ankit Balhara
CinematographyKiran Deohans
Gnana Shekar V. S.
Edited byRameshwar Bhagat
Suraj Jagtap
Zee Studios
Kairos Kontent Studios
Distributed byZee Studios
Release date
  • 25 January 2019 (2019-01-25)[2]
Running time
148 minutes[3]
Budget99–125 crore[4][5]
Box officeest. 132.95–152 crore[6][7][8]

Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi is a 2019 Indian Hindi-language period drama film[3] based on the life of Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi.[9] It was directed by Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi and actress Kangana Ranaut from a screenplay by K. V. Vijayendra Prasad and produced by Zee Studios, Kamal Jain, and Nishant Pitti. The film stars Ranaut in the title role.[10]

A special screening of the film was organized by Zee Entertainment for Ram Nath Kovind, the President of India, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Cultural Centre on 18 January in presence of Kangana Ranaut and her team before release of the film on 25 January 2019.[11] After watching the film the President felicitated the artists and crew of the film.[12]

The film was released on 3700 screens in 50 countries worldwide in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu on January 25, 2019.[13] The film performed well internationally.[14][15] The film opened to positive critical response.[16] The film was selected for the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival.[17]


The film begins with the birth of Manikarnika in the ghats of Varanasi. She is raised by the Bajirao in Bithoor and her father, Moropant. A young blossoming Manu is spotted by Jhansi’s minister, Dixit-Ji, slaying a tiger. Impressed by her feat, he proposes marriage between her and the King of Maratha ruled princely state of Jhansi, Gangadhar Rao. The marriage is celebrated and attended by the Jhansi residents among whom a loud, spunky woman named Jhalkar Bai makes her way to the front along with her husband Puran Singh to take a peek at their new queen. Sadashiv Rao is seen plotting against the king with the British officers who have promised him a part of the estate when Jhansi is conquered by the company. Sadashiv is briefly seen side-eyeing a maid carrying holy water to the naming ceremony of the newborn, implying that he is behind the poisoning that eventually kills Damodar Rao and leaves the King weak and on his deathbed. To have an heir for the succession of the Jhansi throne, the King decides to adopt a child. Much to Sadashiv's dismay, his son is not adopted and instead, a civilian toddler that happens to run towards Lakshmi Bai is named the heir. His name is changed as Lakshmi Bai instinctively calls him Damodar. Sadashiv revolts and refuses to bow down to the future queen regent Lakshmi Bai and is banished from Jhansi.

After a few months, when the King Gangadhar Rao dies, the East India Company expects to apply the Doctrine of Lapse and annex the kingdom of Jhansi as it does not have a male heir. Lakshmi Bai does not relent and refuses to accept the practices of widowhood of those times. Instead she takes on the responsibility of the throne in order to fulfill her promise to her late husband. When the British force her to vacate the palace, she walks gracefully into the village and is welcomed and greeted by a massive parade of villagers led by Jhalkari Bai. This further enrages the British officers. The queen continues to live among the civilians quietly strategizing to reclaim her kingdom.

Meanwhile, the rebellion of 1857 by Indian Soldiers break out due to greased cartridges sent to India. The rebellion begins from Barrackpore to Lucknow and reaches Jhansi. The Revolutionaries led by Sangram Singh attack Jhansi Headquarters and kill General Gordon and attempt to kill their children and wife. But their attempts are thwarted by Lakshmi Bai who reaches the spot and saves the children. She plans to conquer the throne of Jhansi back while Sangram Singh and his men join the rebellion in Delhi. The company requests the British government to appoint Sir Hugh Rose[18] to salvage the situation and remove Lakshmi Bai from the throne permanently. Knowing very well that she will soon be attacked again, Lakshmi Bai begins training her own army and especially women to fight. Meanwhile, Sadashiv conjures a mutiny resulting in the deaths of many innocent British women and children in addition to British officers and blames it on Rani Lakshmi Bai to prompt Hugh Rose to attack and crush her for good. On the way to Jhansi, Hugh hangs a girl simply because her name is Lakshmi.

During the siege of Jhansi, the Queen valiantly steps into the battle field to destroy the British cannons strategically placed in front of a temple. The strong castle walls keep the queen and her army safe until Sadashiv Rao divulges secrets about the castle to the British who finally break the siege and manage to storm the keep, resulting in the death of Gaus-Baba. Jhalkari Bai, despite discovering that she is pregnant acts as a decoy pretending to be the queen due to her striking resemblance to Lakshmi Bai. She manages to get all the British soldiers to follow her and distracts them enough for the queen to safely escape the castle with Damodar Rao. Jhalkari Bai sacrifices herself in a major gun powder explosion killing numerous British officers along with her.

Having lost everything but her love for the country, Lakshmi Bai escapes to Kalpi to reunite with Tantia Tope and other allies. She recaptures Gwalior and motivates the Maratha soldiers to participate in the independence war. With a heavy heart, Lakshmi Bai leaves Damodar Rao with her childhood friend and attendant, Kashi and leads an attack on the British army. Lakshmi Bai bravely sets out to attack the huge British army but then faces a certain defeat. At the end of the film, Rani Lakshmi Bai was shot. While dying she looks at Hugh and immolates herself to avoid being humiliated by the British after her death.

Depicting the aftermath of the events of Rani Lakshmi Bai's death in Amitabh Bachchan's voiceover, Kashibai surrendered to the British Government in 1860 in support of Damodar Rao. Damodar Rao, though survived, lived a life suffering from prolonged illness and dire poverty, died at the age of 58 in 1903. Sadashiv Rao was given death sentence by the British Government in 1870. Ghulam Gauz Khan as per his last wish was buried within the fort of Jhansi. General Hugh Rose wrote about Rani Lakshmi's bravery and courage in his autobiography 'Sir Huge Rose and the Central Indian Campaign of 1858' that "she was the most dangerous of all rebel leaders, best and bravest of all, the only man among mutineers."



Sukant Panigrahy, Sriram Iyengar and Sujeet Sawant are production designers of the film. Sujeet and Sriram have also done production designing for Bajirao Mastani .[26]

Principal photography was completed in October 2018.[27] By that time, only 10 days of patch work remained. Krish intended to do that minimal patch work and then move on to direct N. T. R.. However, allegedly, Kangana insisted on removing Sonu Sood from the movie as she felt his strong screen presence would diminish her visibility.[28][29] Sonu Sood was replaced by Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub[30] forcing the team to shoot all the scenes involving Sonu Sood all over again. Kangana made sure to direct those scenes herself, allegedly, to ensure her presence dominated in the movie.[29] As Krish was busy in directing N. T. R., Ranaut took over, making her directorial debut. Both Krish and Ranaut received director's credit.[31][32][33]


Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi
Soundtrack album by
Released9 January 2019 [34]
GenreFeature Film Soundtrack
LabelZee Music Company
External audio
Audio Jukebox on YouTube
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy chronology
Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi
Mere Pyare Prime Minister

The film's soundtrack is composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and lyrics written by Prasoon Joshi. The film's score was composed by Sanchit Balhara and Ankit Balhara.

Hindi Tracklist
1."Bharat"Shankar Mahadevan4:00
2."Vijayi Bhava"Shankar Mahadevan4:23
3."Bolo Kab Pratikar Karoge"Sukhwinder Singh3:16
4."Rajaji"Pratibha Singh Baghel, Ravi Mishra5:17
5."Shiv Tandav"Shankar Mahadevan 
6."Tak Taki"Pratibha Singh Baghel4:17
7."Dankila"Prajakta Shukre, Shrinidhi Ghatate, Siddharth Mahadevan, Arunaja, Chotu Singh Rawna, Hemant Brijwasi3:44
8."Bharat" (ft Prasoon Joshi)Shankar Mahadevan, Prasoon Joshi3:56
Total length:31:37

Marketing and release[edit]

The first poster was released on 15 August 2018.[35] A short official teaser of the film was released on 2 October 2018.[36] The official trailer of the film was released on 18 December 2018.[37][26] Theatrical posters of the film were released in two languages for simultaneous release of the film in Tamil and Telugu with Hindi version on 4 January 2019.[38] Trailers of Manikarnika:The Queen Of Jhansi in Telugu & Tamil have been released simultaneously on 4 January at Hyderabad & Chennai.[39][40][41]

Manikarnika The Queen Of Jhansi Official Music Launch took place on 9 January. The Video Song from Manikarnika Titled as "Vijayi Bhava" was put out for public viewing on the same day.[42] A jukebox of full film audio songs was released on YouTube on 11 January 2019.[43] Short video teasers of dialogues and prominent scenes of the film were posted on facebook page of Zee Studios for viewers.[44]


The film is certified UA (Parental Guidance for children below the age of 12 years) by CBFC of India and the film was released on 25 January 2019. Its runtime is 148 minutes.[45] The film released on 3700 screens in 50 countries worldwide in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu simultaneously.[13][46]


Critical response[edit]

The film holds a score of 56% on Rotten Tomatoes based on nine critics reviews.[47]

Shibaji Roychoudhury of Times Now News rating the film 4 stars out of 5 gives his final thoughts as "Overall, Manikarnika has many moments of genius and enough fire to keep you glued to the screen. Kangana’s performance as Rani of Jhansi is worth every penny spent. So, if you are looking to feel patriotic this Republic Day and watch a visually stunning bit of cinema, go for this one with friends and family and you’ll have a great time at the theatres."[48]

Tushar P. Joshi of BollywoodLife also rated the film 3.5 stars out of 5 saying "Kangana Ranaut delivers a performance par excellence in this realistic story of the warrior princess Lakshmi Bai". He noted that the length of the film is an issue and criticized the editing and also mentioned that the songs in this movie could have been more situational. He further added, "Manikarnika is a must watch for the glory that Kangana brings to the experience of watching the life and time of one of Indian history's bravest warriors. Don’t miss this one." [49]

Rating the movie 4 stars out of 5, Meena Iyer of DNA India praised the film saying "the braveheart queen. Kangana, who wears two hats that of the protagonist and the co-director displays a certain maturity on both counts." Iyer also mentioned that the performances by the supporting cast were brief yet noteworthy. She further added "The grandeur and the detailing of the war scenes lend the movie a storybook quality and one is quite mesmerised by the scale. KV Vijayendra Prasad, who wrote Baahubali, whips up an engaging screenplay. Prasoon Joshi has penned some fiery dialogue and lyrics with a patriotic fervour. Songs like Vijayi Bhava and Bharat stir up nationalistic emotions. The war sequences are tastefully choreographed by Hollywood imports Nick Powell and Todor Lazarov as well as desi action coordinators, Riyaz and Habib."[50]

Bolly Bazinga rated Manikarnika 3 stars out of 5, saying "This film belongs to Kangana Ranaut and she essays her character like no female character in the history of Bollywood. From script to screenplay, BGM, Cinematography and VFX, the film keeps you glued to your seat." The review further went on to say that it is a 'no nonsense' film and "loved it because it’s really the blood and soul of Kangana Ranaut we saw in every frame of the movie."[51]

Ronak Kotecha of The Times of India gave the film 3.5 out of 5 stars,[52] saying that the film was one of Ranaut's best performances and that she "captivates your attention in every frame...Kangana effortlessly brings Manikarnika to life." However he noted that the supporting actors didn't get as much emphasis, and that the first half of the film seemed too long. The film had a grand feel but lacked the "required opulence and finesse." He commended the dialogues by Prasoon Joshi as being impactful, and the music strong; however he also noted that the length of the film seems to "slacken the narrative" at times. Finally, he states that Ranaut's debut directorial film and performance was a success, and keeps you invested throughout.[52]

Anita Ayer of the Khaleej Times also gave the film 3.5 out of 5 stars,[53] saying that Ranaut's "grit and fierce act" does justice to her role, and that the film sensitively depicts the struggles of violence in the period. She commends the film for not "forcing feminism" on the viewer, but rather interweaving it with natural storytelling and incidents. Ankita Lokhande also gets a few scenes to shine in. The film is not as opulent visually, but the powerful dialogues, good screenplay and acting make up for it. The music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is also strongly rousing and well-used near the finale.[53]

Taran Adarsh giving 3.5 stars out of 5 says in 'One Word Review: Manikarnika: POWERFUL' He continues stating "Inspiring movie that has scale and soul. Kangana, take a bow. You’re terrific. First half could be tighter. Second half awe inspiring. Climax brilliant. Power, pride, patriotism - this has it all.[54]

Anupama Chopra rated the movie 3 stars out of 5 saying "Kangana Ranaut is on fire as the iconic Rani Lakshmi Bai. Her spine is erect, her eyes are unblinking and she seems propelled by some other-worldly power. She’s riding horses, wielding swords, leaping on elephants and making it all look plausible. When she looks into camera and insists on dying for the country, you want to follow her into battle." She mentioned that the film wobbles because the screenplay does not give the supporting cast much opportunity to build their characters. She missed the subtlety in the dialogues and criticized the inept CGI work especially in the battle scenes and said at 2 hours and 28 minutes the movie is unforgivably long.[55]

Namrata Joshi of The Hindu news paper wrote: "Ranaut doesn’t just share the director’s credit; she overshadows all of the cast, including veterans like Danny Denzongpa and consummate performers like Atul Kulkarni and Mohd Zeeshan Ayub. It’s evident that Ranaut has put her all into the film and she's present in practically every frame.But what you go back home with after the film is not a compelling performance, but the gorgeous textile and jewellery she wears, the trailing pallu and hair blowing fetchingly in the wind, the agile swordplay, choreographed stunts, the many hops, skips and jumps and tonsil-revealing roars of “Har Har Mahadev” and “Azaadi”. [56]

Rahul Aijaz rated the film 3.5 out of 5 stars and wrote to The Express Tribune that the film "delivers on most fronts and proves an engaging affair from beginning to end." He praised Ranaut's acting as well as her role as a co-director, and noted that the film "is a one-woman-show".[57]

Box office[edit]

The digital distribution rights for the film were acquired by Amazon Prime Video for 40 crore and the satellite rights were purchased at 25 crore. The distribution rights for theater screening were purchased at 65 crore.[58] The movie opened with 8.75 crore in domestic market. On its second day,which coincided with Republic Day holiday, the film collected 18.10 crore. On its third day the movie remained steady and collected 15.70 crore, taking its opening weekend domestic collection to 42.55 crore, making it the highest weekend collection for a female-led movie. Its domestic nett collection in opening week was 61.15 crore.[59] The domestic net of the film as per Bollywood Hungama is 92.19 crore and in the overseas market movie grossed 24.11 crore. The worldwide gross for the film is 132.95 crore (US$19 million).[60][61]


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External links[edit]