Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi is releasing today with Kangana Ranaut and Ankita Lokhande in lead roles. Kangana has also co-directed the film, which is based on the life of Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi during the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
The film has been marred by a series of controversies with the latest being the threats from Karni Sena, which has warned of consequences if the character of Laxmibai is shown to be in a romantic relationship with a British ruler.
Early reviews of the film are out and there is no clear verdict. Most critics have praised Kangana for her performance in the film, the poor script has come under criticism. Others have highlighted the presence of ‘too much melodrama’ and jingoism in the film at a time when patriotism has acquired a political colour in India.
A review of the film by Bollywoodlife website said, “Kangana Ranaut delivers a performance par excellence in this realistic story of the warrior princess Lakshmibai.” Entertainment website India Forums wrote, “‘Manikarnika’ has a poor Screenplay, VFX and Storyline. The film will turn out to be a disappointment for every movie lover. Though being a historical drama, the film yet remains a typical Bollywood movie.”
Journalist P Rekha wrote, “No doubt Kangana Ranaut is excellent but feeling sorry for Manikarnika! Poor script, too much of Melodrama!” A review by Republic TV said, “‘Manikarnika’ falls short in being a fitting tribute to Rani Lakshmibai.”
Bollywood trade analyst Taran Adarsh gave three stars to the film and wrote, “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.”
The film is expected to earn in the range of Rs 13- Rs 15 crore on the first day of its release. Some reports said that this could also become the highest opening day earner film with woman in lead role.