Had to rework over 50 per cent of the film, says Manikarnika cinematographer
Cinematographer Kiran Deohans on how they reimagined Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi under Kangana Ranaut's guidance after director Krish left the period drama
After director Krish left Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi to helm NTR Kathanayakudu, cinematographer Kiran Deohans was one of the first people to hop on board the Rani Laxmibai biopic.
Initially skeptical to join a project mid-way amidst his other commitments, the cinematographer credits leading lady and director Kangana Ranaut for his change of heart. "Once I met Kangana, I realised she has complete clarity on the film. I was convinced with her vision for the movie. They [the makers] were also ready to shoot as per my availability," says Deohans, who stepped in for famed director of photography, Gnana Shekar VS.
Kangana Ranaut on the set with the cinematographer
The biggest challenge was to maintain the period drama's tone while bringing in a fresh perspective. He says that he adhered to Ranaut's vision for the warrior queen's story. "Kangana wasn't convinced with the way she looked in the close-up sequences. So, we reshot them by lighting up the scenes in a different way. We also separately shot some action sequences for the promos. It was crucial to keep the basic colour palette similar so that it doesn't look like a different film altogether. We had to rework more than 50 per cent of the film in two months, which was a Herculean task, but we managed it."
The handing over of the directorial baton wasn't without its share of controversies. Sonu Sood, who was to play Sadashivrao Bhau, recently said that he left the project because he was "disturbed" to see many of his scenes missing from the edit. However, Deohans says that Ranaut is a perfect fit behind the camera. "While we were shooting in Karjat, Kangana was simultaneously shooting for Mental Hai Kya. She juggled the two films with ease. She has done a fantastic job in Manikarnika, and whenever she decides to direct another film, she will do a fine job."
Ranaut too showers praise on Deohans, as she says, "Being a new director, I needed support. Kiran not only fought all the adversities along the way, but also guided me. It's because of him that I could finish the film on time with desirable results."
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