Manikarnika review by criticsTwitter

Manikarnika cast: Kangana Ranaut as Rani Laxmibai (Manikarnika aka Manu), Atul Kulkarni as Tatya Tope, Jisshu Sengupta as Gangadhar Rao, Richard Keep as General Hugh Rose, Suresh Oberoi as Bajirao II, Danny Denzongpa as Ghulam Ghaus Khan, Vaibhav Tatwawaadi as Puran Singh, Ankita Lokhande as Jhalkaribai.

Story by‎: ‎K. V. Vijayendra Prasad

Kangana Ranaut starrer and directorial debut Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi has been released in UAE a day prior to its release in India on January 25. And the historical biopic that tells the story of India's fierce and headstrong warrior queen Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi and her fight for Independent India, has received mixed reviews from the critics.

According to Gulf News, Kangana, who has both directed and acted in this period drama, has gets it right in a few scenes but "every emotion fleeting through Ranaut's face — ranging from triumph to tragedy — is exaggerated."

Manikarnika fails to establish an emotional connect with Rani Lakshmi Bai when he stands tall in front of the British army who are trying to "annex the turf of Jhansi." The reviewer further mentioned that the British colonisers' "accented Hindi is cartoonish and fails to evoke a sense of fear at their strength or military might."

The prime focus is on Kangana for understandable reasons but other actors like Ankita Lokhande and Zeeshan Ayub, who is playing the villainous role, aren't "fully explored."

"The sword-fighting scenes are well executed, but the battle scenes with an army of foot soldiers feel repetitive. Prasoon Joshi's dialogue is suitably evocative and laced with patriotic fervour. There's a lot of stress on earning self-respect by quashing the colonisers too.

If you are a fan of warrior epic that's solely Ranaut's battlefield, this one is for you. Others can safely duck this nationalism-fuelled saga."

Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5.

However, according to Khaleej Times, "Kangana Ranaut brings alive the legendary war hero with her grit and determination. Manikarnika belongs to Kangana and she is back as a true war hero."

The reviewer further mentioned, "We are used to seeing period drama through the lens of Sanjay Leela Bhansali or Ashutosh Gowariker but Manikarnika makes up for any lack of grandness with strong characters, powerful dialogues by Prasoon Joshi and a tight screenplay."

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.

TimesNowNews: "First, the screenplay in the second-half is comparatively weak, especially during the third act. Kangana's accent is annoying and what was a strength of the film in the first two acts (action choreography of the women), resorts to the same old world of slow-motion and still camera during the climax. There are also a number of continuity issues and lack of motivation in the film that you'll realise when you see it.

But most importantly, the villain in the film is weak, one without conviction, on-screen charisma and at no point seems menacing. Also, Bollywood really needs to stop making these white actors speak in distorted Hindi. Just sounds bizarre and pointless. Be that as it may, there is still enough in Manikarnika for you to want to cheer the warrior queen till the end of her story."

Rating: 4 stars out of 5. 

News 18: "Manikarnika would certainly qualify among those rare screen gems with a female protagonist that is an out and out action film, and Ranaut, pulls off this feat with flair. It's a pity though that the film does not permit the talented ensemble of supporting actors with the likes of Atul Kulkarni, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Danny Denzongpa enough scope to establish the historical characters they represent."

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.

NDTV: "Manikarnika is agonizingly soulless. Platitudes piled upon synthetic platitudes do not add up to great cinema, especially when none of the film's war cries delivers any bang for its buck. Save yours and give the film a miss unless you like the sound of misfires."

Rating: 1 star out of 5.

The Quint: "While Kangana doesn't disappoint as an actor, as a director it's important to lift every aspect of filmmaking.

That's where the 'Queen' looses out. 'Manikarnika' doesn't come together as a composite whole. No doubt, Kangana stands tall but the film remains an average affair that works only sporadically.

If only everything else was at par with Kangana, 'Manikarnika' would have been a much more powerful film."

Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5. "The Manikarnika production isn't lavish enough to suggest a grand sweep of history, and the focus on its heroine is too narrow to accommodate a larger conversation about the efficacy of Lakshmibai's actions. There is plenty of leaping and feinting, but not enough reflecting."

Rating: Not Known

First Post: "Kangana Ranaut is born to be an action star, but she needs to evolve as a director. Rani Lakshmibai was a great woman. She deserves better than a poorly written film that chooses to use her for its own self-serving ends."

Rating: 1.75 stars out of 5.