Kangana Ranaut on Manikarnika: We have stayed true to the spirit of Laxmibai
As she brings Rani Laxmibai's story to the big screen in Manikarnika, Kangana Ranaut on how her female co-stars are crucial to the biopic
"I want to pay a worthy homage to Rani Laxmibai," says Kangana Ranaut, who has dived straight into the post-production of Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi after wrapping up the first schedule of Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari's Panga.
While the film's journey to the editing table hasn't been without its share of struggles, the actor-director insists the biopic is shaping up the way she had envisioned - with women taking centrestage. Considering the film celebrates the fighting spirit, Ranaut points out that it was crucial to rope in female actors who would do justice to the fierce characters etched out for them.
"In the film, Rani Laxmibai's army is her strength. It was full of women who had an irrepressible spirit and a flair for fighting. We have Ankita Lokhande, Mishti and many more actresses forming the army; we will reveal each character through the promotions," says Ranaut, who is putting finishing touches to the January 25 release. While Lokhande plays Jhalkaribai - the warrior queen's advisor and trusted aide, Mishti will be seen as her friend who joins the war.
In an earlier interview, international action director Nick Powell had told mid-day how he had trained the stars - including Ranaut and Lokhande - in sword fighting and horse riding, and was impressed by their resilience. "We had a great time training together. We have stayed true to the spirit of Laxmibai as much as possible," adds Ranaut.
That the period drama holds a special place in her heart is evident - she asserts it is the courageous streak of the freedom fighter that resonated with her.
"Growing up, I was sensitive and obedient, but I would take off when I felt the need to break free. No one, except my mother, could speak to me at that time. Since childhood, I have been a firm believer of woman power. We don't need to empower girls, they are powerful as they are. We just need to not suppress them. We need to recognise and respect their subtle strength."
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