The reports are in; Kangana Ranaut is all set to portray the warrior queen Rani Lakshmi Bai in a biopic, but guess who is starring opposite her? None other than the dashing Hollywood hunk Hugh Grant!
Ketan Mehta never shies away from challenges and his next venture is a biopic on India’s iconic Rani Lakshmi Bai where he will be casting Kangana Ranaut, fresh out of Tanu Weds Manu Returns, in the lead role as the legendary warrior Rani herself while British actor Grant might essay the role of General Hugh Rose.
The confirmation came from Mehta himself who said, “Yes, Kangana is on board. I always wanted to make The Rising as a trilogy. So, this film will be the second part after Mangal Pandey (2005). I am very excited.” This will be Kangana’s first biopic.
The Indo-British production, which will be simultaneously shot in Hindi and English, will see Kangana undergo a year of strenuous training in horse riding, sword-fighting and other warfare skills before she can morph into the role during shooting. The film is expected to get underway sometime in the middle of 2016.
To give a quick history lesson, Rani Laxmi Bai, the young queen of Jhansi took on the responsibilities of monarchy after her husband, Maharaj Gangadhar Rao Newalkar passed away leaving their adopted son Damodar Rao in her care. Before his death the raja had written to the British government requesting that his widowed queen be crowned the next ruler but Lord Dalhousie refused to honour this request after his death and Jhansi was annexed. After all negotiations fells through, the courageous Rani led a massive rebellion first from Jhansi, then from Gwalior where she ultimately lost her life. Sir Huge Rose was the commander of the Central Indian Field Force that led an attack against and witnessed first-hand Lakshmi Bai’s legendary bravery during the Jhansi rebellion in 1858. It was he who had commended her bravery with these words, “she is personable, clever and beautiful” and “the most dangerous of all Indian leaders.”
With the admiration the nation holds for this beloved female character, Kangana has a lot to live up to as she takes on an epic role.