As promised last week, your Kulture Didi is back this week with her woke take on another Bollywood masala film. She says it will really help bring about the real achhe din (good days) in our country if we discuss movies intelligently. That is precisely why Kulture Didi, a woke millennial from the City of Joy, has taken the responsibility to review films even though no one really asked her to.
In the name of Ray, she will be dishing on Krish and Kangana Ranaut’s Manikarnika this week. Here’s a film that could have given us a worthy counterpart of the likes of Baahubali and co., but gets so many things about gender oh-so wrong that it made Kulture Didi very hungry and dizzy. They kept talking about “azadi ki bhook” and Didi took that sentiment literally two hours into a film that lasts for a sum total of 148 minutes!
While Kangana looks fierce while sword fighting and slaying British darinde to save her matrubhoomi, the film seems very convoluted and loses plot after a while. Kangana is basically a superhero who saves everyone from tigers to calves to human beings and Didi approves of that because we do need more female characters being as daring as their male counterparts on the big screen and having just as much fun!
Rani Laxmibai is still a feminist icon because she was sitting in the 1800s and breaking sexist conventions that are still imposed upon women in India till date. While this is touched upon, Manikarnika’s wokeness doesn’t feel authentic enough. “This,” Didi says, “feels more like tokenism. Every man in the film who isn’t as good as her is rebuked for being ‘effeminate’.”
Even though there are stalwarts like Danny Denzongpa and Atul Kulkarni in the film, they are barely given much to do. Jisshu Sengupta’s voice gets dubbed and he spouts problematic lines like “Main chudiya namard banne ke liye pehenta hoon.” Ankita Lokhande plays a loyalist who functions on the sentiment of “YAAASSS QUEEEN!” every time she sees Jhansi ki Rani. She also does an unnecessary item number somewhere in between the already chaotic story. And as expected, all the gora peeps speak strangely good Hindi in weird accents and look terribly pale while dishing out funny threats.
To know more about what Kulture didi has to say about Manikarnika, watch the video.