Desh se hai pyar to,
har pal yeh kehna chaiye,
Mai rahu ya na rahu,
Yeh desh rehna chaiye.
There is a line in the movie Manikarnika, when the queen says,
"Hum ladenge taki aane wali pidhiya azadi ka utsav banaye"
I am a very ordinary boy from a simple background, but like many others I love my cinema. In fact I had a strong urge to become a film director for a long period of time. In fact I still do. But only the desire or talent to do something will not make you the person you intend to become. You need a lot of courage, will power, self belief and confidence to do so. In fact even if you lack in talent and have the above traits you will surely reach places where many other dream to arrive at.
But what if you have all of the above in you. Tremendous confidence, self-belief and a powerhouse of talent. You are then called KANGANA RANAUT.
Fashion, Tanu Weds Manu, Queen and Tanu Weds Manu Returns. The films which in true sense portrayed the versatile actress at her best. Like every other fan I too was completely mesmerized with her ability to dissolve herself in each frame of her role. In fact I believe Datto from TWM Returns is one of the most iconic roles played by an artist in our Industry.
Now I am sure you must be confused that the title of the letter says, " I dont support Manikarnika - The Film" but here I am praising her with whatsoever little hold I have over my vocabulary.
The reason being I went to see Manikarnika yesterday along with my family. I had been hearing great things about the movie and Kangana herself being such a fierce lady, all the interviews, controversies and still Kangana shining through all of this in the social media platform, made me absolutely curious to not miss this movie at any cost.
The movie started with the most famous baritone and immediately i felt nostalgic as it reminded me of another great movie " Lagaan" which also had a similar beginning. My excitement levels rose and I knew for sure I am in for an experience of a lifetime.
Slowly the movie began and very quickly we are introduced to Manikarnika taking on a tiger. Though it was not so convincing but still Kangana has the power to behold a scene and I was ok till then.
But after that the plot just brushes upon all the major characters as if they are just doing their historic duty of being in the frame. Great actors are completely under utilized and the screenplay is only interested to go back to Kangana every now and then.
Suddenly she is the queen of Jhansi, has been given a new name Laxmi Bai, her horse Badal is also in place and all the characters are given a mention, which gives a feel as if we are reading the pages of history in a book.
A movie is suppose to be an experience, it is a combination of all senses, visual, sound, emotional and a screenplay which gives you goosebumps automatically. But in Manikarnika I had to search for such a moments. And every now and then I felt , yes this was a good scene, yes kangana is looking WOW, the music is great.
But when they come together collectively, they don't provide you an experience. It is a movie which wants to become a masterpiece.
A good movie is one when an audience remembers even the smallest of characters in the movie. Because a director gives soul to even the smallest of artists. For example in Munna Bhai MBBS, we all remember Maqsud Bhai, who was cleaning the hospital and Munna Bhai gave him a Jaadu ki Jhappi. He had a mere role of 2-3 minutes but still the director was able to make an impact.
Manikarnika fails exemplary in establishing characters. I know the Kangana has said it is not a biopic, she wants people to understand the patriotism in Rani Laxmi Bai. But only a single person cannot build a nation. It is built collectively by all its people.
Kangana showcased her talent immensly in the movie, but as a director she could not show case the talent of all the great artists in the movie.
For me Kangana the actor defeated Kangana the director. I dont know if it is just because she is new to direction or it is because she could not let go of her scenes. This only she knows for sure, no one else will.
Now I made a very casual tweet that I found the movie very disappointing. A whole army of people bombast-ed with hate tweets. The called me a fan of Hrithik, and Karan Johar. They may have even called me anti-national. But I love my movies too much and it somehow ignited me to write what I genuinely felt about the movie.
There is a beautiful movie named " Whiplash", where it is said, " That Mediocrity has become the new benchmark for judging someone's talent". We are very happy even if a movie or a form of art or for that matter anything which is even remotely mediocre. And that is the reason we are not experiencing great cinema, like Mughal-e-Azam. ( A phenomenal film, which cannot be rated)
Finally, I am writing this open letter as a fan of Kangana Ranaut who felt betrayed by watching Manikarnika- The Film ( once again the film). I love my country, I love my Jhansi ki Rani. I even love Kangana Ranaut the actor. But I feel she and a lot of people today are unwilling to take criticism. We can always agree to disagree, but we don't have to hate each other.
Hoping with my little command over my language I have been able to express my feelings.
A true fan of Cinema