Will Kangna Ranaut’s dream of playing the Rani of Jhansi ever materialize? While Telugu cinema’s ace- director Krish says the film goes on the floors in July, sources in the know say the leading lady Kangna’s ongoing moral and legal skirmish with filmmaker Ketan Mehta over the creative rights on the material may cost the project its very existence.
Apparently Ketan Mehta is not in the mood to let go of what he considers his creative property and Krish- Kangna’s plans to start shooting Manikarnika in July may not be a “feasible game plan.”
Says a source close to the development, “Ketan Mehta is not a novice. He is a very well-informed filmmaker. He will fight Kangna and her plans to take Rani of Jhansi away intellectual rather than emotional heft. His latest salvo against Kangna, dragging her to the Economic Offence Wing, is not a hasty decision. Ketan is in this for the long haul.”
And why not? He has spent six years researching on the Rani of Jhansi. Way back in 2007 he planned to make the Rani of Jhansi with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. This was right after she had turned down Mehta’s Mangal Pandey where the director had offered her the role that Ameesha Patel eventually did.
All seemed to work out until the budget played a villain and vamp. In 2015 right after he completed his Dashrath Manjhi bio-pic The Mountain Man, Ketan Mehta revived the project with Kangna in board as the Rani of Jhansi. All seemed to be going smoothly when the actress simply decided to walk out of her commitment to Mehta right into another project with a more affluent producer and a more pliable director.
Ketan claims he will go ahead with his version of Rani of Jhansi. Deepika Padukone and Radhika Apte are two strong contenders to play Mehta’s Rani Laxmibai a.k.a Rani of Jhansi.
Sushmita Sen would be more than slightly envious if either or both the above Rani of Jhansi projects helmed by Krish and/or Ketan Mehta, materialized. Sushmita spent three years researching, planning and preparing to play the Rani of Jhansi.
I remember visiting her in 2007. She had turned an entire floor of her high-rise duplex into a creative war-zone populated by sundry academicians, research scholars, data collectors, costume designers…Hell, she was excited! She had decided to turn producer with her banner Tantra Films and she was practising horse-riding and sword-fencing for a role every Indian actress hankers to play.
But the project fell apart. The story of her life….No one has been able to do a tenable Bollywood version of the Laxmibai saga since Sohrab Modi in 1956. If Kangna Ranaut manages to overcome the various mindboggling hurdles to finally see herself as the ultimate warrior queen on screen she would go where many prominent actresses from Vyjanthimala to Hema Malini to Raakhee Gulzar to Sushmita Sen have dreamt of going.