‘Manikarnika’ looks like bits from a Bhansali product

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Mumbai, Dec 18 (IANS) Finally it comes. The trailer of the beleaguered historical “Manikarnika – The Queen Of Jhansi” brings to us a furious, ferocious and feral Kangana Ranaut, who tells the ‘gora log’, “We both want Jhansi. But you want to rule. I want to serve.”

Well, precisely. The Rani Of Jhansi was passionately dedicated to her kingdom. I don’t see much of that dedication in the trailer. Much of it is devoted to displaying its leading lady’s skills on horses and with swords. The trailer gives us an epic primer on ‘Kangana Rides The Horse’, ‘Kangana Swats The Enemy’, ‘Kangana Bays For Blood’, so on and so forth.

There is so much of the talented actress’ efforts to appear queenly, the trailer barely offers a glimpse of the impressive supporting cast, namely Danny Denzongpa, Atul Kulkarni, Suresh Oberoi and others who flit by in this steamroller view of a woman warrior’s day-out binge. Threadbare thunder in a fancy teacup.

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Alarmingly and annoyingly, the film wears a thick and heavy Sanjay Leela Bhansali hangover. In the way the camera zooms in and pans the long stretches of the battle scenes, I was taken back to Bhansali’s “Bajirao Mastani”. In fact one of Kangana’s derring-do in a battle sequence here, she gambols over her army to strike was a move identical to Ranveer Singh’s in “Bajirao Mastani”.

So is Kangana’s Jhansi Ki Rani, Bajirao or Mastani or both?

It’s a highly derivative world created by people who seem to have the resources but not the vision. We could do with a lot more chutzpah when recreating such an important chapter from Indian history.

It’s not all a wash-out, though. Kangana seems to convey sufficient fire and elasticity. Her accent is a downer, though.

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This is the way the trailer moves: uplifting one moment down to being a disappointment the next. Let’s hope the film is not as uneven in tone.

–IANS

skj/rb/bg

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