Kangana Ranaut, who made her Tamil debut with Dhaam Dhoom with Jayam Ravi a decade ago, returns to K’town though not directly, but through her Tamil dubbed version of period drama Manikarnika - The Queen of Jhansi. She was in the city for the trailer launch of the film. Draped in a traditional Kanchivaram silk saree with heavy jewellery, replete with jasmine flowers on her tresses, the ‘Queen’ of Bollywood looked elegant.
The actress says that the action choreographer who trained her was worried and initially felt that she might not look convincing for the power-packed role of warrior princess because of her skinny appearance.
“I was fragile, when I started, I was weighing just 50 kilos and had low stamina. He was worried if I could pull off the strenuous and physically demanding high-octane stunt sequences. I took it as a challenge and gained weight and did all the stunts myself,” Kangana reveals.
Ask her how does she feel to act in an epic period movie like The Queen of Jhansi, pat she replies, “It is very unfortunate that in 12 years of my career, I never got to work in a film like this. This is the first film, which speaks of patriotism, the love for you land. I should have been part of such films which evoke sentiment of nationalism. I don’t think we often make those kinds of movies. Finally it is here. And I hope it starts a trend of romancing your motherland, which is beyond the love between a man and a woman.”
Sharing her distinctive experiences in stunt sequences she quipped, “After gaining weight, I could do 10 to 12 hours of action every day. It was a different experience and a journey. The sword fights, sometime swords in both hands, galloping, hand combats, jumping off the horses and falling along with horses. It took me by surprise and made me wonder if I would be able to handle it.”
Kangana, had to wield the megaphone for portions in the film after the earlier director Krish left. “I do agree it was not an easy thing to act and direct a movie. But I was the second person, Krish did lot of action portions and I did only the drama part of the film. As a director, I faced a lot of challenges. I spent a lot of time with writers, dialogue writers, lyricists and screenplay. When I took over, I was to complete it in 45 days. I do only one take. Everything is prepared before going for actual shoot. That way it was not difficult. It was hot and except for the physical exertion, I didn’t see any obstacle to direct.”
On essaying the fierce and warrior character of Jhansi Rani she says, “I was unsure as how to approach the role of Rani Laxmi Bai. She is not a normal person. The way it was written was ‘larger than life’. I was bit uncomfortable. The way Vijayendra Prasad sir has written it and conceived it, it’s superhero-like. Usually, my characters are flawed and real human in terms of their abilities. I needed lot of faith and devotion and trust in people.”
The national award winner said that she aspires to do a war film set 10,000 years ago, but didn’t reveal what the character is going to be. Was she able to relate to her character? “Most definitely I could. As a woman, I had gone through a lot. I hope the film will reach all types of audiences in different languages (smiles).”
Produced by Zee Studios and Kamal Jain, the movie will hit the marquee on January 25.