Kangana Ranaut’s Manikarnika is not a biopic, but it has attracted the unwanted attention of Sarva Brahman Mahasabha, a Brahmin group from Rajasthan, who claims the film distorts history.
Manikarnika is based on Rani, a book authored by Jaishree Misra, which claims that the queen of Jhansi had an affair with British officer Robert Ellis.
Sarva Brahman Mahasabha president Suresh Mishra reportedly held a press conference in Jaipur to raise objections to scenes portraying love affair between Rani of Jhansi and Ellis.
He said, “We learnt about it from our friends and acquaintances in various parts of Rajasthan where some scenes of the film are being shot. The film is based on a foreigner’s book and tries to dampen the queen’s reputation.” .
“Nobody can even imagine that Maharani Laxmi Bai could have an affair. She died fighting the British at a young age. If a film is to be made on her life, it should be a biopic,” said Mishra.
Interestingly, the Rajput Karni Sena has extended their support to the group. The Sarva Brahman Mahasabha had supported the anti-Padmaavat protests staged by the Karni Sena.
Just a few days ago, the Karni Sena dropped their protests over Padmaavat, saying the film glorifies the valour of Rajputs.
Karni Sena leader Yogendra Singh Katar revealed last week that a few of its members watched the movie and found nothing objectionable in it. The movie will make Rajputs proud, he said.
The Karni Sena had been objecting to the movie’s release claiming it distorts history and portrays the Rajputs in bad light. The group was also miffed at the reported existence of a dream sequence featuring Alauddin Khilji and Rani Padmini. Padmaavat director Sanjay Leela Bhansali had always denied that such a sequence existed.
In a letter, the Karni Sena leader said the group was taking back their protest and added that they would help to release the film in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
In January, the Supreme Court of India lifted the ban on the movie imposed by several states and ordered them to ensure the movie was released in a peaceful manner. However, several cinema hall owners put off screening the film in the wake of protests from Karni Sena members in Gujarat and Haryana.