On Sunday evening the co-producers of Manikarnika hosted a special screening for handpicked guests.
I spoke to some invitees who were generally positive in their response to the long-awaited film except for one prevalent complaint about the film’s length and the over-dominance of the lead actress in the proceedings.
An actor whose role has been chopped to almost zilch says , “This has got to be the longest showreel ever made for any Indian actor. It is nearly 2 ½ hours long. And it isn’t a fast-flying narrative. The film is weighed down by its own sense ofselfimportance.Every frame is about only one actor.”
According to this actor stalwarts like Atul Kulkarni, Danny Denzongpa and Sonu Sood have been reduced to props. “SonuSood is not there at all. He has been replaced by Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub and the role is now much smaller than what it was whe Sood played it. Atul Kulkarni who plays the important role of Rani Laxmibai’s war General is reduced to two scenes.While Nihar Pandya who plays her brother is hardly even a blur.”
According to this source, “Kangana is in almost frame of the film.All the other characters have been marginalized to a shadowy nothing. To her credit she powers the plot, holds it together.But it’s a one-woman show .Or more like a show-reel.”
The source complains about Kangana’s dialogue delivery. “She is unable to deliver the historic lines with enough force. But that apart she is adequate as Rani Of Jhansi. The second-half is all by Krish and the first-half is all done by Kangana. The audience can easily tell the difference between the two halves.”
This source feels Manikarnika stands a better chance at the boxoffice than Thackeray.
“Manikarnika has a universal resonance whereas Thackeray’s appeal is restricted to Maharashtra,” says the source.