The Republic Day is a national holiday and we have seen in recent times how films can earn big time during such periods. Hence, a lot of filmmakers were eying this upcoming Friday. Initially, four films were to release on Friday. But ‘Why Cheat India’ got preponed by a week while ‘Super 30’ got pushed by 6 months. Now, two films are releasing and incidentally, both are biopics.
‘Manikarnika – The Queen Of Jhansi’ is a biopic of Rani Lakshmibai, the brave warrior from Jhansi and also a national hero. Kangana Ranaut plays the titular role of the brave queen. The other actors in the film are Jisshu Sengupta, Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, Ankita Lokhande, Atul Kulkarni, Danny Denzongpa, Mishti, Taher Shabbir, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, etc. The trailer is interesting and the film looks grand and something that can be enjoyed on the big screen. Also, Kangana suits the role. A few viewers have issues with her dialogue delivery as they feel it doesn’t seem convincing. But overall, Kangana has managed to make a mark, at least from the trailers. Sadly, the film remained in news more for the wrong reasons than the right. The problems started even before the film went on floors. Kangana in 2015 was supposed to do this film with director Ketan Mehta. But she abandoned this film and collaborated with director Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi aka Krish. In the second half of 2018, she developed problems with Krish as well. As per reports, ‘Manikarnika – The Queen Of Jhansi’ didn’t shape up well and the producers decided to reshoot certain portions. Krish, however refused to do the re-shoot as he was busy with the two-part biopic of late actor-politician N T Rama Rao, which coincidentally released just two weeks back. As a result, Kangana took over the reins and publicly spoke ill about Krish. She also had a feud with Sonu Sood, who originally played the role of Sadashiv. Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub replaced Sonu after he walked out of the film and Kangana claimed he did so as he didn’t want to take orders from a female director!
The trailer of ‘Manikarnika – The Queen Of Jhansi’ got lot of attention but the promotion wasn’t great. Hence, the hype died down a bit. Songs also haven’t worked. Earlier, a Rs 10 crore opening seemed a possibility but now the opening might be around Rs. 7-8 crore. Saturday January 26 is when the Republic Day falls and if the response is positive, the collections can double. However, the film has to be really good in order to become a commercial hit. A lot has been spent on the film and the re-shoot further added to the expenses. As per reports, the budget of the film is more than Rs. 100 crore. As a result, this high cost can be recovered only if the response is extraordinary.
‘Thackeray’ – As the name suggests, it’s a biopic of Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray. He was one of the most inspirational figures of Maharashtra and even Indian politics and hence, his biopic has a chance to work. The film releases in both Hindi and Marathi and only the latter can succeed. The excitement for ‘Thackeray’ outside Maharashtra is very less. As a result, both versions can do well only in Maharashtra. The Marathi version can run riot and emerge as a potential blockbuster. Its business would be sufficient to cover costs. As for the Hindi version, it again can excel in Maharashtra and if all goes opening, the all-India opening of this version could be around Rs. 3-4 crore. If the response is positive, then it will do slightly better from Day 2. Thankfully, the lead role is played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui and his presence has ensured that the film has a chance outside the home state as well.