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Vijayendra Prasad Tells Subhash K Jha Why The Controversies Won’t Affect The Performance Of The Film.

Subhash K . Jha

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Vijayendra Prasad,  the veteran  writer is now part of the most controversial film of his career Manikarnika: The  Queen Of Jhansi.

So many controversies. Can we talk about them?

Sure, but let me be very honest, I will answer only if I can. Otherwise I won’t lie to you.What are  the controversies?

Well first of all  the original director Krish was relieved of his duties and replaced  by  the film’s leading lady Kangana Ranaut?

I don’t think  ‘relieved’  is the  correct word. Krish wasn’t asked to go.  The picture  was started in June 2018 and was supposed  to be released   in August 2019. But because  of  the  volume of shooting  the film got delayed. And  Krish who shares a very  good relationship with Mr Balakrishna was  committed  to direct a  film on the  latter’s father NTR’s life after the  original  director for that  project, Teja, could not do the  film.Krish had already done  a  big hit with Mr  Balakrishna.There was  no way  we could  hold  Krish back.We had to let him go. It was  just 10-15 days  of  shooting left…

You’ve reshot only  10-15 days?

That was the original plan. But then Kangana thought some  extra  action scenes were needed and I concurred with her.She was right . The film looks so much more spectacular  with those war scenes.Kangana  just competed  the  film.

It is  being said you  are  one of  the  causes  for the  rift between Kangana and  Krish?

(laughs) Not at all. Absolutely not. To my knowledge  there  is  no rift between Kangana and  Krish.

People say you are supportive  of  Kangana and  not Krish in their  conflict?

No I  am supportive  of  the movie. I haven’t taken sides at  all.I’ve seen  Krish has done  a wonderful  job of shooting  the  film. But I’d say Kangana has  done  no less a job than Krish. When I saw  the rushes I  cannot differentiate between what Krish and Kangana have shot.

But  Kangana has  no  experience in direction whereas Krish has a whole body of work behind him?

We saw her abilities  on the sets and she has  made active contribution to  many of her  films.Krish couldn’t  direct the two bio-pics  simultaneously. We couldn’t get  a newcomer  to complete our film.We had the option of waiting for  Krish to  finish  the Balakrishna movie and then  take up the  shooting of Manikarnika again. This would have meant a further delay. Because no other director of repute would have  stepped in to complete the  film at that late stage. Kangana has an aptitude  for  direction.So we chose her.

But how did  you see that aptitude  in her?

From  the studio where she was  shooting as an actor, from what the producers said. She  was ably assisted  by the entire team and she knew what was doing.

Have you seen  the  finished product?

Not yet. I am flying to Delhi to to watch it with the President  Of India.

No one in recent times has succeeded in makinga film on Rani Laxmibai?

Sohrab Modi directed a remarkable film on the Rani in the past.In recent times, nobody. We’ve covered  her entire life from birth to death in just two hours.I must add that I’ve a personal connection with this movie.

 How  so?

Manikarnika  was  the name  the Rani Of Jhansi was given  by her parents. It was changed after marriage according to Maharashtrian tradition. My own daughter’s name is Manikranika. So I have a special fondness for that name.

After  the release  of the  film there may be many parents naming their  daughters Manikarnika?

I hope so.

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