Sonu Sood's sudden exit from Kangana Ranaut's Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi has put the project in dire straits. The movie's budget, which was initially approved for Rs 60 crore, has now shot up to Rs 125 crore approx due to re-shoots and a series of production delays.
The movie which was initially scheduled to complete the patchwork in 10 days has now been extended to a 45-day schedule in which the major portions of the film will be re-shot with new actor Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub as Sonu Sood's replacement.
According to a report in Mid-Day, the producers were not happy with the narrative after the first screening. They felt that the movie went off the track and didn't do justice to the script written by KV Vijayendra Prasad.
"There were glaring discrepancies in character establishment. For instance, Jhalkaribai's [Ankita Lokhande's character] bond with Rani Laxmibai was not woven well into the narrative, which, in turn, made the climax jarring. It was decided that this track would be reworked in the patchwork shoot. Since Krish had committed his dates to the NTR biopic, the makers decided that Kangana would lead the unit," a source close to the film was quoted as saying by the daily.
"However, when they began the shoot last month, they realised that they would have to re-shoot several portions, if they were to be honest to the script. Rani Laxmibai's emotional journey was reduced to fleeting mentions in the first cut. Plot points like her marriage and the loss of her first child needed to be brought to the fore. It was then that a collective call was taken to film several chunks of the period drama again," the source added.
The report further said that the producers have sanctioned an additional Rs 20 crore for the smooth functioning of the film's shoot. It is also being said that Nick Powell, Hollywood action director, has been roped in to assist some of the key action sequences of the film.
"The 45-day schedule will be spread across three venues — ND Studios in Karjat, Film City and Kamalistan. The film will retain several sequences from the original cut, especially the ones shot inside the fort," the source said.
The report also says that Manikarnika is likely to miss its release date of January 25 next year; the same day when Hrithik Roshan's Super 30 will be releasing in theatres.
"Kangana will need to show the first cut by mid-October. The teaser is expected to launch on Gandhi Jayanti, with the trailer being targeted for mid-November," the source said adding that it is yet to be discussed whether Kangana will share credits with director Krish Jagarlamudi after delivering the film to the producers as per their demands.
Meanwhile, Kangana is gearing up to shoot a festive song featuring herself and Ankita Lokhande. The song will be choreographed by Ganesh Hedge and shot in Kamalistan from September 11 for five days.