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Raja Sen’s movie review of Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi

Jan 26, 2019 00:02 IST
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It doesn’t feel like a coincidence that Kangana Ranaut is called Manu in her new film. 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. This film comes from the actress after she has waged war with industry bigwigs and taken over directorial duties mid-stream, and the messaging is unmistakable: this queen needs no man. Ranaut makes you believe it. Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi sets up a world where the woman wages war, while the men dance and matchmake. Ranaut is gleeful as she shows the men how its done, fencing expertly while running across the backs of horses and onto that of an elephant. These are cartoonish stunts, but we should ask ourselves if the reason they feel harder to swallow is because she isn’t named Akshay or Ajay and is, instead, a confident woman.