Jhansi Rani Lakshmibai, one of the key leaders of the Sepoy mutiny against British raj, strategically escaped twice from the British army, gave an arduous fight and was a nightmare to the Angrezi Sarkar until she chose her death by being a rebellion in a battle near Gwalior.
As British officer Hugh Rose commented in his battle report, Jhansi Rani was the most dangerous of all Indian leaders. Our heart swells with pride when the story unveils on screen, and the battle tactics used at that time is commendable. Story is kept intact as much possible and the glorification of Rani as a personality seems apt in many frames.
This movie itself seems like a mark of respect for a leader's story which sprung through the hoodlum effort by British to erase her name in the History of India. The moment when Lakshmibai jumps off the fort of Jhansi while trying to save her heir is enough to prove how outgoing and rebellious she could have been who survived battles and did not give in an opportunity for British for being captured alive. This sacrifice is what she believed will become a precedence and instilled an undying urge in Indians about Swaraj.
Now about the movie, Indian audience have watched Baahubali which has given us an excellent VFX that is lasting even after years of its release; we have watched Baajirao Mastani which featured Baajirao, a courtier of Jhansi empire; we have watched an excellent epos with a right mix of everything- VFX, story line, Direction, editing, scale, songs and performance in Padmaavat recently.
Manikarnika has everything, but lacks the same intensity of direction almost for the first 40 minutes. It is noticeable, had this movie been in the hands of a more experienced director, this could have been improvised here and there. I cannot conclude that the movie hasn't much to offer the audience as well, even in those first 40 minutes. But the direction seems a cracked spell at times during the movie which seems crackled further through poor VFX during few instances. Songs are amazing, which is as a matter of fact drew me to the theater. Shankar Ehsaan Loy are back with a bang, that has complimented Prasoon Joshi's lyrics so rightly. But what is lacking, is timing in the movie. Songs seem a bit too many in the movie which would have sounded even better if their gelling with the flow of the movie was better. Songs should always be rightly placed, and must compliment the movie rather than being an impediment to its flow, is what I believe.
Having said that, there is no doubt that the battle scenes, scenes with weaving battle strategics are commendable. Kangana Ranaut has proved yet again that she can mold into any character that comes to her in making. Supporting crew has done their job great. A one time watch, and lore to sing in bits for a long time, for sure.