Manikarnika: Exclusive Movie Review By A Teen

Manikarnika chronicles Rani Laxmi Bai’s life, from marriage to her death in battle during the First War Of Independence. Kangana Ranaut’s performance brings the gutsy queen back to life.

By Vanshika Devuni Kalanidhi

Manikarnika: Exclusive Movie Review By A Teen
Kangana Ranaut as Rani Laxmi Bai (Pic courtesy: The movie's Facebook page) 

When you’re reading this review, please understand that I’m extremely biased here. I love history; I love British-Indian history, and I LOVE the rebellion of 1857. I’m also a sucker for strong female characters (I’ve already mentioned this in my Thugs of Hindostan review). So, take whatever I say with a grain of salt!

Manikarnika is the story of Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi. It highlights the period of her life from marriage to death in battle and how she contributed to the First War of Independence.

Captivating canvas

The film was simply wonderful. As I’ve come to expect with any history movie, it had beautiful sets, stunning visuals and colourful costumes. It made you feel like going through the screen and being a part of that world. I really liked the palace and the marketplace for their attention to detail. I also liked the costumes and makeup used. In particular, there was a scene in the second half of the movie showing the damage, injuries and casualties of war. The blood and gore looked strikingly real. Scenes like this made me appreciate the cinematic work the directors had done.

I need to applaud Kangana Ranaut for her brilliant portrayal of Manikarnika. Only she could have pulled off that amount of confidence and power. I loved how she showed us Manikarnika’s steely determination and courage. She had no problems establishing herself as the alpha. We saw young Manu’s character grow and change through the movie. Kangana did an amazing job showing us that evolution. She also had magnificent dialogue delivery — and I particularly liked the scene before the interval where she talks about ruling Jhansi. In fact, she is my new favourite actress!

Supporting cast

It is not that Kangana alone shone in the movie. I also loved how Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub portrayed wily Sadashiv. He really made me hate Sadashiv and that means he’s an excellent actor (Goodness, this is my fourth time appreciating the villains of a movie! I just love evil characters!). I also LOVED Ankita Lokhande’s role in this movie. I would like to talk about every single actor and character in this movie but, I’m sure you wouldn’t like to listen to a 13-year-old ramble about acting for three hours!

One of the only problems I had with this movie was that it was pure Hindi with no subtitles. I understand Hindi moderately well ( because I used to watch Chhota Bheem as a kid) but it was very old Hindi here. That’s reasonable considering that this story was set in the 1850s but, a few subtitles would’ve been nice. 

Let's talk about the war scenes at the end. I liked them and they were filled with action, but I kinda lost focus while watching them. I tend to follow a story better if there is more dialogue rather than action, and there's a lot of action in these scenes. I also found the ending to be a little anti-climactic — I wanted the music to swell, I wanted several dramatic dialogues and I wanted to see a dramatic fight between the two parties! But, the movie did not give me that. The queen was shot. And the music stopped. And she went out in one last blaze of glory (literally). The ending reminded me of Padmaavat since both movies had queens sacrificing themselves for their homeland.

That being said, even though I zoned out a little, I was still captivated. Every actor did a fantastic job. Overall, I enjoyed the movie. You should definitely watch it for its cinematic beauty... and the feisty fierceness of Kangana Ranaut. I give this movie a 3.5 rating. 

My 5 takeaways from Manikarnika:

  1. Mai rahu ya na rahu, Bharath rehna chahiye. The combined welfare of society is more important than a single individual.
  2. We should face difficulties with a confident attitude — even when Manikarnika lost her home, wealth, assets and kingdom, she strived to work for India.
  3. Nothing can stop you from being hardcore bold. When I was younger, I thought you had to be tomboyish and not do anything girly to be 'bold'. Now, I’ve come to realise that you can do stereotypically 'girly' things and still punch hard. Manikarnika got married, had a child, wore sarees and bindis, and at the same time, was an expert sword-fighter and contributed immensely to the sepoy mutiny.
  4. No matter who you are or what you do, you have the power to help society.
  5. Respect should be earned. Nobody has the right to make you feel inferior.

Also Read: Incredibles 2 Movie: Exclusive Review by a Teen

The author is a writer/blogger who blogs at www.vanshikadevuni.blogspot.com

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