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Kangana Ranaut welcomed as Manikarnika’s new director by Ankita Lokhande as controversy rages

Ankita Lokhande strongly endorsed Kangana Ranaut as the new director of Manikarnika.

bollywood Updated: Sep 05, 2018 16:10 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Kangana Ranaut,Kangana Ranaut Manikarnika,Kangana Ranaut Sonu Sood fight
Ankita Lokhande, who plays Jhalkari Bai in Manikarnika is happy that Kangana Ranaut is now the new director of the film.(Instagram)

Amid the controversy surrounding actor Sonu Sood’s exit from Kangana Ranaut’s ambitious film, Manikarnika, support for Kangana as the new director, has been coming up from all quarters. After the makers of the film endorsed her as the director, now one of her colleagues has put her weight behind her.

Ankita Lokhande strongly endorsed Kangana as her ‘new captain’ and sounded happy at the prospect of shooting her first song for the film with her. Sharing two pictures with Kangana, she wrote: “I feel my feet lighter. Rehearsing for my first bollywood song with master ji @ganeshacharyaa and our new captain kangana ranaut @team_kangana_ranaut Super excited to be part of it. #jhalkaribai Much much gratitude #kamaljain #zeestudios #manikarnika #releasingon25th jan #swipelef.”

Ankita plays the character Jhalkari Bai, a trusted aide of Queen of Jhansi, Laxmi Bai. According to a report in Rediff.com, Jhalkari, who hailed from a humble background in the Buldelkhand region, often appeared as a ‘double’ for Laxmi. Together, they led what was called Durga Dal and repeatedly foiled British designs.

Meanwhile, Manikarnika has been plagued by problems - first, it was reported that the film’s director Krish left the project mid-way as he had to begin work on the NTR biopic with many accusing Kangana of hijacking the film. Later, controversy erupted when Sonu Sood chose to walk out of the prestigious project with Kangana stating that Sonu Sood refused to work under a woman director.

Now, a source close to the actor detailed how Kangana was handed the reins of the project. The makers of Manikarnika were upset seeing the rough cut of the film and hence asked Kangana to take over. “Basically, when the producers saw the rough cut they were upset with Krish and were not happy. Hence Kangana was asked to take over. From a logical point of view if a director is under contract and is being paid by the producers then he has to reshoot if there are any changes too. But, they chose to let him go and not insist on him taking the reigns again cause they weren’t happy. They then asked Kangana to step in. Only 20-30% of what Krish shot is being retained and the other portions that is 60% are being reshot. The initial budget was around Rs 60 crores but the producers are ready to give in Rs 20 crores more for the reshoot as they trust Kangana.”

The source questioned the logic behind reports that Kangana had hijacked the film. The said source posed questions like: “Will the studio blindly give Kangana the film and crores of money every day to shoot? All of a sudden she can arm twist the producers to give in crores of money? It is their hard earned money too. How can a director just move on when he is bound by a contract?”

The source revealed that Kangana was given the option of taking on as director or letting the project being shelved. “Kangana had an option to either direct or let the film be shelved. She agreed and decided to lead the unit. Producers had full liberty to get a new director on board but they didn’t.”

According to the source, the action director Nick Powell has been called back to reshoot certain portions too. The patchwork too has been going on smoothly. “All in all we are in for a treat on January 25, 2019 in the form of Manikarnika.”

Kangana’s team too shared some pictures of fight sequences on her Intagram page.

Earlier Kangana had been quoted as saying that Sonu, who she thought of as a ‘dear friend’, walked out as he refused to work under a woman director. Stung by the criticism, the actor had shot back saying that was not the case; he had worked with a female director (Farah Khan in Happy New Year) and that issue was competence. The issue snowballed into a major controversy with both parties trading guns at each other.

There also been a lot of debate that Sonu having grown a beard for his role in Rohit Shetty’s Simmba, which led to further problems as his character in Manikarnika was clean-shaven.

On the issue of Kangana hijacking the project, the maker of Manikarnika, Kamal Jain had refuted it outright. He had said Kangana was considered the best person to take over the mantle to complete patchwork and to direct a few additional scenes for Manikarnika - The Queen of Jhansi, when director Krish moved on to his new film.

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First Published: Sep 05, 2018 15:29 IST