Verdict: An inspirational docu-drama about the great Indian queen.
Director Swati Bhise’s movie is a docu-drama on the life of Rani Lakshmibai, the Queen of Jhansi. A very significant part of Indian history, Rani Lakshmibai’s story has been adapted by numerous mediums. The new adaptation is The Warrior Queen of Jhansi with Devika Bhise playing the role of a Queen who has inspired generations. The movie also stars Yatin Karyekar, Ben Lamb, Rupert Everett, Derek Jacobi, and Jodhi May. An Indo-Western production, this film also releases in Marathi.
What’s The Warrior Queen of Jhansi About:
In the 1800’s, a young girl becomes the Rani of Jhansi (Devika Bhise) when she marries Maharaja Gangadhar at the age of 15. A brave girl known for her skills with the sword, she is unlike any other woman in her kingdom. Soon after her marriage, Rani Lakshmibai gives birth to their son who is declared the next heir of the kingdom. However, their happiness is short-lived when their son dies. With the absence of an heir, Rani Lakshmibai and the Maharaja adopt their nephew Anand Rao and declares him as the next heir – Damodar Rao. However, the British invoke the Doctrine of Lapse by which they refuse to legitimize Damodar Rao as the legal heir to the throne of Jhansi. An old ally of the Britishers, the kingdom of Jhansi feel betrayed at this tactic of the British to seize Jhansi. Thus follows a number of battles with the East Indian Company’s army. With her army and with the help of Tatya Tope’s army and other allies, Rani Lakshmibai sets out on a battle on June 18th, 1958 – the day she is said to have died.
The movie set is striking and so are the costumes. Costumes designed for Rani Lakshmibai’s character were perfect and depicted the richness and royalty of the legendary queen. The movie had some inspiring dialogues. Swati Bhise’s The Warrior Queen of Jhansi has some really good performances. Devika Bhise does a fair job at the titular role.
The film also explores parts of Laxmibai’s stories that are not as well-known. In 1853, Maharaja Gangadhar dies putting the whole responsibility on the shoulders of Rani Lakshmibai. The queen then raises an army of women, teaching them all the skills she has learned over the years.
Ben Lamb who plays a British soldier who is seemingly in love with the Rani does everything in his power to help the queen gives a committed performance. Rupert Everett and Derek Jacobi also deliver good performances. The fight sequences, though short, were a treat to watch.
What Could’ve Been Better:
Devika Bhise, although gave it her all, does not quite fill the large shoes of Rani Lakshmibai. The plot transition is odd at places, with the chronology of the various battles being a little hard to follow. The Warrior Queen of Jhansi becomes preachy in some scenes which could have been avoided. Also, the dialogue delivery in Marathi and Hindi could have been done better.
Why You Should Watch:
If you are someone who loves movies on historical figures, then The Warrior Queen of Jhansi directed by Swati Bhise is perfect for you. A movie on such a great inspirational figure should not be missed.