The story of Rani Lakshmibai, Queen of Jhansi, is not a new one and has been both written and filmed before, but the 2019 movie Manikarnika is the first I’ve heard of her. Apparently she was one of the leaders of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 / the First War of Independence against the British East India Company in northern India after the death of her husband, the Raja of Jhansi.
Manikarnika – The Queen Of Jhansi | Official Trailer | Kangana Ranaut | Releasing 25th January by Zee Studios on YouTube
Phew—the trailer’s even bloodier than the one for Tomiris. (I wonder whether it’s a Game of Thrones effect—the popularity of that bloody show begetting other series with high liquid velocities?) Apart from that, the two trailers and/or stories seem to share a remarkable amount of basic similarities, yet are set thousands of kilometers apart. An interesting coincidence.
On the other hand, Manikarnika looks incredibly gorgeous! According to IMDB, it’s already available—the release date is given as January 25, 2019—and Amazon offers streaming versions in Hindi, Telugu, and Tamil with a selection of subtitles.
The bloodiness makes me really apprehensive, though. I’m in for more humane stories at the moment, but I think I’ll have to keep Manikarnika in mind.
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I seem to recall that Rani turned up as a character in one of the Flashman novels – Flashman and the Great Game. I must check the movie out. In a wider historical sense, the Indian mutiny was crucially important to my mind as a device for ‘hardening’ British Imperial resolve of the day, and not just in India. I published an analysis of New Zealand historical race relations of the period, earlier this year, in which I’ve argued that the scale of military intervention in the wars of the 1861-64 period was likely driven in part by the fact that after 1857-58, Britain could not allow other elements of the Empire to create precedent that might be picked up, again, in India. The mutiny did not, of course, come out of thin air; but to this extent, the narrative of Rani Lakshmibai (and the others involved) intrudes into wider historical trend.
I seem to recall a few other novels she also appears in, at least according to Wikipedia. I can’t remember whether there were any non-fiction books centering her.
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