Kangana Ranaut is one of the best actors in India, director Raja Krishna Jagarlamudi said in a recent interview, remembering all those times that he was driven to applause on the sets of Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi, the period epic from which he was unceremoniously removed by the actor.
“Kangana is brilliant,” Krish said in an interview to Bollywood Hungama. “When I was first approached for the film, I got very excited.” Calling it the best performance of Kangana’s career, Krish said that he would clap on the sets of the film on some occasions. Manikarnika is based on the life of Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi, a prominent feminist icon of the freedom movement.
But things would soon turn sour between the director and his star. Krish said that the last time he watched the film was in June, 2018, before it was taken away from him. “I was not welcomed,” Krish said. “After the trailer release, it was difficult. Terms between me and Kangana were not that good.”
After viewing a cut of the film, Kangana advised certain changes to be made. She ended up taking over as director, with the support of producer Kamal Jain, and Krish was removed from the picture. Initially the reason behind his departure was said to be scheduling conflicts with his next movie, but it has since been reported that his vision was not met positively by Kangana.
“I didn’t pursue it (the argument),” Krish said, worried that any further altercation would ‘harm the film more’. “It’s an enigma for me, what really happened,” the filmmaker said. “I shot the film for 109 days,” he said, adding that he spent over 400 days in Mumbai during the film’s production.
Everything was fine till June, 2018, Krish said. Things went downhill after he submitted his cut. “Four or five days of patchwork we needed to do,” he said, adding that the film was cut and ready for post-production. Krish was working with his regular collaborators on Manikarnika.
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“The first time that Kangana watched the film, she loved it,” Krish said, admitting that some of her ‘minute’ suggestions were valid. He said he asked Kangana to wait till the film was complete before making a call, because the version she watched didn’t have complete VFX, sound or even dubbing.
Krish was subsequently shut out of the process, and Kangana took over as co-director. She claims to have shot over 70% of the final film, something which Krish disagrees with. In a recent interview to SpotboyE, Krish said that Kangana shouldn’t have taken the first credit as director in a film she had only a minor part in making. “I don’t think how Kangana can sleep well by taking the first credit in direction when she does not deserve it,” he said.
Kangana’s sister, Rangoli Chandel, took to Twitter to respond to Krish’s claims that he has shot the majority of the film. “Chalo man liya you directed the whole film now please calm down, still, Kangana is the leading face of the film let her enjoy this moment of her success and great appreciation, please leave her alone, we all believe you now please take a seat,” she wrote.