Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi

Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi is a 2019 Indian Hindi-language period drama film[3] based on the life of Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi.[9] It was directed by Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi and Kangana Ranaut from a screenplay by K. V. Vijayendra Prasad and produced by Zee Studios, Kamal Jain, and Nishant Pitti. The film stars Ranaut in the title role.[10]

Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi
Manikarnika Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRadha Krishna Jagarlamudi
Kangana Ranaut[1]
Produced byZee Studios
Kamal Jain
Nishant Pitti
Written byPrasoon Joshi
Screenplay byK. V. Vijayendra Prasad
StarringKangana Ranaut
Atul Kulkarni
Jisshu Sengupta
Vaibhav Tatwawaadi
Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub
Ankita Lokhande
Narrated byAmitabh Bachchan
Music bySongs:
Sanchit Balhara
Ankit Balhara
CinematographyKiran Deohans
Gnana Shekar V. S.
Edited byRameshwar Bhagat
Suraj Jagtap
Zee Studios
Kairos Kontent Studios
Distributed byZee Studios
Release date
  • 25 January 2019 (2019-01-25)[2]
Running time
148 minutes[3]
Budget99–125 crore[4][5]
Box officeest. 132.95–152 crore[6][7][8]

A special screening of the film was organised by Zee Entertainment for Ram Nath Kovind, the President of India, at Rashtrapati Bhavan Cultural Centre on 18 January in presence of Kangana Ranaut and her team before release of the film on 25 January 2019.[11] After watching the film. the President felicitated the cast and crew of the film.[12]

Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi was released on 3700 screens in 50 countries worldwide in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu on 25 January 2019.[13] The film performed well internationally and in India in its theatrical run. It had the highest first day collection for any female-oriented film.[14][15] The film opened to a positive critical response.[16] The film was selected for the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival.[17]

For her performance in Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi, Ranaut won a National Film Award for Best Actress at the 67th National Film Awards, 2021.[18][19]


In 1828, Manikarnika is born in the ghats of Varanasi. She is raised by Peshwa Bajirao II and her father, Moropant in Bithoor. A young blossoming Manu is spotted by Jhansi's minister, Dixit-Ji, slaying a tiger. Impressed by her feat, he proposes marriage between her and the Maharaja of the Maratha ruled princely state of Jhansi, Gangadhar Rao. The marriage is celebrated and attended by the Jhansi residents among whom a loud, spunky woman named Jhalkari Bai makes her way to the front along with her husband Puran Singh to take a peek at their new queen. The Maharaja's relative, Sadashiv Rao plots against the king with the British officers who have promised him a part of the state when Jhansi is conquered by the Company. The Maharaja's son Damodar Rao is born but eventually dies, leaving the Maharaja weak on his deathbed. To have an heir for the succession of the Jhansi throne, the Maharaja decides to adopt a child. Much to Sadashiv's dismay, his son is not adopted and instead, Anand Rao, the son of a courtier, is named the heir. His name is changed as Lakshmi Bai instinctively calls him Damodar Rao. Sadashiv revolts and refuses to bow down to the future queen regent Lakshmi Bai and is banished from Jhansi.

After a few months, when the Maharaja dies, the Company expects to apply the Doctrine of Lapse and annex Jhansi as it does not have a male heir. Lakshmi Bai does not relent and refuses to accept the practices of widowhood of those times. Instead she takes on the responsibility of the throne in order to fulfill her promise to her late husband. When the British force her to vacate the palace, she walks gracefully into the village and is welcomed and greeted by a massive parade of villagers led by Jhalkari Bai. This further enrages the British officers. The dowager queen continues to live among the civilians quietly strategizing to reclaim the throne.

In 1857, a rebellion is sparked by the sepoys due to greased cartridges sent to India. The rebellion begins from Barrackpore, to Lucknow and reaches Jhansi. The Revolutionaries led by Sangram Singh attack Jhansi Headquarters and kill General Gordon and attempt to kill their children and wife. But their attempts are thwarted by Lakshmi Bai who reaches the spot and saves the children. She plans to conquer the throne of Jhansi back while Sangram Singh and his men join the rebellion in Delhi. The company requests the British government to appoint Sir Hugh Rose[20] to salvage the situation and remove Lakshmi Bai from the throne permanently. Knowing very well that she will soon be attacked again, Lakshmi Bai begins training her own army and especially women to fight.She assembles 20,000 troops to fight which are include her attendants - Sunder, Munder, Jhalkari and Kashi. Meanwhile, Sadashiv conjures a mutiny resulting in the deaths of many innocent British women and children in addition to British officers and blames it on the queen to prompt Hugh Rose to attack and crush her for good. Pathans join Laxmibai later in 1858.

British lays siege on Jhansi but are unable to breach the walls due to stiff resistance put on by Rani and her forces.

During the siege of Jhansi, the Queen valiantly steps into the battlefield to destroy the British cannons strategically placed in front of a temple. The strong fort walls keep the queen and her army steady until Sadashiv Rao divulges secrets about the fort to the British who finally break the siege and manage to storm the keep, resulting in the death of Gaus-Baba. Jhalkari Bai, despite discovering that she is pregnant acts as a decoy pretending to be the queen due to her striking resemblance to Lakshmi Bai. She manages to get all the British soldiers to follow her and distracts them enough for the queen to safely escape the castle with Damodar Rao.Queen ties her son to her back and kills few British soldiers. She rides her horse and escapes to Kalpi. Jhalkari Bai sacrifices herself in a major gunpowder explosion killing numerous British officers along with her.

Meanwhile, Lakshmi Bai escapes to Kalpi to reunite with Tantya Tope and other allies.Kashi, Munder and one Pathan Leader manages to save themselves from the massacre at Jhansi and joins Lakshmibai at Kalpi. She captures Gwalior and motivates the soldiers to participate in the war. With a heavy heart, Lakshmi Bai leaves Damodar Rao and leads an attack on the British. Lakshmi Bai bravely sets out to attack the huge British army but then faces a certain defeat.Her attendants- Sunder and Munder are killed in the war. Rani Lakshmi Bai gets shot. While dying she looks at Hugh and immolates herself in a fire to avoid being captured and humiliated by the British.

After Rani Lakshmi Bai's death, Jhansi is surrendered to the British Government in 1860 on behalf of Damodar Rao. Damodar Rao although survived, but lived a life suffering from prolonged illness and dire poverty, dying at the age of 58 in 1903. Sadashiv Rao was given death sentence by the British Government in 1870. Ghulam Gauz Khan as per his last wish was buried within the fort of Jhansi. General Hugh Rose wrote about Rani Lakshmi's bravery and courage in his autobiography 'Sir Huge Rose and the Central Indian Campaign of 1858' that "she was the most dangerous of all rebel leaders, best and bravest of all, the only man among mutineers."



The outdoor locations of the film were Jaipur, Jodhpur, Alsisar (Jhunjhunu) & Bikaner in Rajasthan and Narmada Ghat, Ahilya Fort in Madhya Pradesh. Besides these, the film was shot at studios in Hyderabad & Mumbai.

Sukant Panigrahy, Sriram Iyengar and Sujeet Sawant are production designers of the film. Sujeet and Sriram have also done production designing for Bajirao Mastani.[28]

Principal photography was completed in October 2018.[29] By that time, only 10 days of patch work remained. Krish intended to do that minimal patch work and then move on to direct N. T. R..[30][31] Sonu Sood was replaced by Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub.[32] forcing the team to shoot all the scenes involving Sonu Sood all over again. As Krish was busy in directing N. T. R., Ranaut took over, making her directorial debut. Both Krish and Ranaut received director's credit.[33][34][35]


Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi
Soundtrack album by
Released9 January 2019 [36]
GenreFeature Film Soundtrack
LabelZee Music Company
External audio
  Audio Jukebox on YouTube
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy chronology
Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi
Mere Pyare Prime Minister

The film's soundtrack is composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and lyrics written by Prasoon Joshi. The film's score was composed by Sanchit Balhara and Ankit Balhara.

Track listing
1."Bharat"Shankar Mahadevan4:00
2."Vijayi Bhava"Shankar Mahadevan4:23
3."Bolo Kab Pratikar Karoge"Sukhwinder Singh3:16
4."Rajaji"Pratibha Singh Baghel, Ravi Mishra5:17
5."Shiv Tandav"Shankar Mahadevan2:45
6."Tak Taki"Pratibha Singh Baghel4:17
7."Dankila"Prajakta Shukre, Shrinidhi Ghatate, Siddharth Mahadevan, Arunaja, Chotu Singh Rawna, Hemant Brijwasi3:44
8."Bharat" (ft Prasoon Joshi)Shankar Mahadevan, Prasoon Joshi3:56
Total length:31:37

Marketing and releaseEdit

The first poster was released on 15 August 2018.[37] Theatrical posters of the film were released in 2 languages for simultaneous release of the film in Tamil and Telugu with Hindi version on 4 January 2019.[38]

Its official music launch took place on 9 January. The video song from Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi titled "Vijayi Bhava" was made available for public viewing on the same day.[39] Short video teasers of dialogues and prominent scenes of the film were posted on facebook page of Zee Studios for viewers.[40]


The film is certified U/A (Parental Guidance for children below the age of 12 years) by CBFC of India and the film was released on 25 January 2019. Its runtime is 148 minutes.[41] The film released on 3700 screens in 50 countries worldwide in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu simultaneously.[13][42]


Critical responseEdit

The film holds a score of 50% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 10 critics reviews.[43]

Shibaji Roychoudhury of Times Now News rating the film 4 stars out of 5 gives his final thoughts as "Overall, Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi has many moments of genius and enough fire to keep you glued to the screen. Kangana’s performance as Rani of Jhansi is worth every penny spent. So, if you are looking to feel patriotic this Republic Day and watch a visually stunning bit of cinema, go for this one with friends and family and you’ll have a great time at the theatres."[44]

Tushar P. Joshi of BollywoodLife also rated the film 3.5 stars out of 5 saying "Kangana Ranaut delivers a performance par excellence in this realistic story of the warrior princess Lakshmi Bai". He noted that the length of the film is an issue and criticised the editing and also mentioned that the songs in this movie could have been more situational. He further added, "Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi is a must watch for the glory that Kangana brings to the experience of watching the life and time of one of Indian history's bravest warriors. Don’t miss this one." [45]

Rating the movie 4 stars out of 5, Meena Iyer of DNA India praised the film saying "the braveheart queen. Kangana, who wears 2 hats that of the protagonist and the co-director displays a certain maturity on both counts." Iyer also mentioned that the performances by the supporting cast were brief yet noteworthy. She further added "The grandeur and the detailing of the war scenes lend the movie a storybook quality and one is quite mesmerised by the scale. K. V. Vijayendra Prasad, who wrote Baahubali, whips up an engaging screenplay. Prasoon Joshi has penned some fiery dialogue and lyrics with a patriotic fervour. Songs like 'Vijayi Bhava' and 'Bharat' stir up nationalistic emotions. The war sequences are tastefully choreographed by Hollywood imports Nick Powell and Todor Lazarov as well as desi action coordinators, Riyaz and Habib."[46]

Ronak Kotecha of The Times of India gave the film 3.5 out of 5 stars,[47] saying that the film was one of Ranaut's best performances and that she "captivates your attention in every frame...Kangana effortlessly brings Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi to life." However he noted that the supporting actors didn't get as much emphasis, and that the first half of the film seemed too long. The film had a grand feel but lacked the "required opulence and finesse." He commended the dialogues by Prasoon Joshi as being impactful, and the music strong; however he also noted that the length of the film seems to "slacken the narrative" at times. Finally, he states that Ranaut's debut directorial film and performance was a success, and keeps you invested throughout.[47]

Anita Ayer of the Khaleej Times also gave the film 3.5 out of 5 stars,[48] saying that Ranaut's "grit and fierce act" does justice to her role, and that the film sensitively depicts the struggles of violence in the period. She commends the film for not "forcing feminism" on the viewer, but rather interweaving it with natural storytelling and incidents. Ankita Lokhande also gets a few scenes to shine in. The film is not as opulent visually, but the powerful dialogues, good screenplay and acting make up for it. The music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is also strongly rousing and well-used near the finale.[48]

Taran Adarsh giving 3.5 stars out of 5 says in 'One Word Review: Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi: POWERFUL' He continues stating "Inspiring movie that has scale and soul. Kangana, take a bow. You’re terrific. First-half could be tighter. Second-half awe inspiring. Climax brilliant. Power, pride, patriotism - this has it all."[49]

Anupama Chopra rated the movie 3 stars out of 5 saying "Kangana Ranaut is on fire as the iconic Rani Lakshmi Bai. Her spine is erect, her eyes are unblinking and she seems propelled by some other-worldly power. She’s riding horses, wielding swords, leaping on elephants and making it all look plausible. When she looks into camera and insists on dying for the country, you want to follow her into battle." She mentioned that the film wobbles because the screenplay does not give the supporting cast much opportunity to build their characters. She missed the subtlety in the dialogues and criticised the inept CGI work especially in the battle scenes and said at 2 hours and 28 minutes the movie is unforgivably long.[50]

Namrata Joshi of The Hindu news paper wrote: "Ranaut doesn’t just share the director’s credit; she overshadows all of the cast, including veterans like Danny Denzongpa and consummate performers like Atul Kulkarni and Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub. It’s evident that Ranaut has put her all into the film and she's present in practically every frame.But what you go back home with after the film is not a compelling performance, but the gorgeous textile and jewellery she wears, the trailing pallu and hair blowing fetchingly in the wind, the agile swordplay, choreographed stunts, the many hops, skips and jumps and tonsil-revealing roars of 'Har Har Mahadev' and 'Azaadi'.[51]

Rahul Aijaz rated the film 3.5 out of 5 stars and wrote to The Express Tribune that the film "delivers on most fronts and proves an engaging affair from beginning to end." He praised Ranaut's acting as well as her role as a co-director, and noted that the film "is a one-woman-show".[52]

Box officeEdit

The digital distribution rights for the film were acquired by Amazon Prime Video for 40 crore and the satellite rights were purchased at 25 crore. The distribution rights for theatre screening were purchased at 65 crore.[53] The movie opened with 7.75 crore in domestic market. On its second day,which coincided with Republic Day holiday, the film collected 18.10 crore. On its third day the movie remained steady and collected 15.50 crore, taking its opening weekend domestic collection to 41.35 crore, making it the highest weekend collection for a female-led movie. Its domestic nett collection in opening week was 61.15 crore.[54] The domestic net of the film as per Bollywood Hungama is 100.05 crore and in the overseas market movie grossed 55.11 crore. The worldwide gross for the film is 156.16 crore (US$22 million).[55][56]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result
2019 26th Screen Awards Best Actress Kangana Ranaut Nominated
Zee Cine Awards Best Actress Kangana Ranaut Nominated
2020 Filmfare Awards Filmfare Award for Best Actress Kangana Ranaut Nominated
Filmfare Award for Best Costume Design Neeta Lulla Nominated
2021 67th National Film Awards[19] Best Actress Kangana Ranaut Won


Kangan Ranaut and producer Komal Jain have teamed up to work on a sequel titled Manikarnika Returns: The Legend of Didda. It would be based on Kashmiri female ruler Didda. Sources close to the development revealed that the new film will be bigger and mounted on an international scale, adding that the team intends to make a world class franchise of real life women heroes.[57]


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External linksEdit