Monday, 30th October 2017

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Future in the past

Filmmakers turn back pages of history for lavish period dramas

By Shama Bhagat
  • Published 24.10.18, 12:00 AM
  • Updated 24.10.18, 2:02 PM
  • 3 mins read
Kangana Ranaut in and as Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi Sourced by the Telegraph

After the success of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat, Bollywood filmmakers are now digging into the past for their future. A host of movies based on historical events will be seen in the coming year. The producers are making sure they don’t fall short of budgets for their magnum opuses. These film are not just multi-starrers, they are being shot on lavish scales.

Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi

Kangana Ranaut’s Manikarnika has been in the making for quite some time. Kangana is playing the role of Rani Lakshmibai. The film, however, has been dogged by controversies. It was being directed by Krish earlier but it is being said that he has quit the project. Even actor Sonu Sood, who was playing an important role in the film, parted ways. It has been heard that Kangana has taken over the reins and will be directing the film herself. The actress started shooting for the film in May 2017, which was initially scheduled for an April 27, 2018, release. Since the war scenes needed a lot of VFX work, it was delayed. The release date has now been pushed to January 25, 2019. The film also stars Jisshu Sengupta, Atul Kulkarni, Suresh Oberoi and Ankita Lokhande. This is said to be one of the most expensive films ever made at a budget of Rs 200 crore.

Taanaji: The Unsung Hero

Ajay Devgn’s most ambitious project, Taanaji: The Unsung Hero, went on the floor recently. Ajay will be essaying the role of Maratha warrior Tanaji Malusare, a commander in Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s army. The film focuses on the heroic fight of Taanaji in the Battle of Sinhagad, it also puts light on his personal life. There have been reports that Ajay has approached Saif Ali Khan to play a crucial role in the film. Kajol will play Ajay’s wife on screen. The film produced by Ajay and Bhushan Kumar has been mounted at a massive budget of Rs 150 crore and is being directed by Om Raut.


Karan Johar will be making his first historical venture, Takht, a magnum opus with an ensemble cast. The film stars Anil Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal, Bhumi Pednekar and Janhvi Kapoor. The film, as the title suggests, is the fight for the Mughal throne. As Karan recently revealed the film is the story of a family, of ambition, of greed, of betrayal, of love and of succession. Takht is about war for love and is about two warring brothers.


After playing a Sardar in films like Singh is Kinng and Singh is Bliing, Akshay Kumar will play a turbaned character in Kesari. The film, co-produced by Karan Johar, is based on the Battle of Saragarhi. It narrates the story of Havildar Ishar Singh, who participates in the 1897 battle in which an army of 21 Sikhs fought against 10,000 Afghans. Apart from Akshay, the film stars Bhagyashree, Parineeti Chopra and Mohit Raina. Directed by Anurag Singh, the film is slated for a March 22, 2019, release. Akshay shot for the film in Wai (Maharashtra) recently and they

will now be heading to Spiti in Himachal Pradesh for their next schedule.


After his last box office hit Jodhaa Akbar, director Ashutosh Gowarikar has announced his next period drama Panipat. The director has recreated the popular Shaniwar Wada Fort of the Peshwas. The film is based on the third Battle of Panipat. It stars Sanjay Dutt, Arjun Kapoor and Kriti Sanon. Arjun plays the role of Maratha leader Sadashivrao Bhau in the film while Sanjay will portray Ahmad Shah Durrani. The film is slated to hit screens on December 6, 2019.

Mughal Road

Pakistani tribesmen known as Kabailies guided by Pakistani armed forces captured Baramula and tried to suppress the Princely state of Jammu and Kashmir and take over the Maharaja’s palace and the Shrinagar Airport. Maharaja Hari Singh made a plea to India for a military intervention, signing instruments of accession, allowing the Government of India legitimate control over Jammu and Kashmir. The war was initially fought between the 1st Sikh regiment consisting of only 17 soldiers of the Indian armed forces. The Pakistani and tribesmen were about 10,000 strong. Baramula, the second largest town, was under siege by Pakistani Kabailies and the Pakistani Army. A local boy Meer Maqbool Sherwani fought against the Kabailies, turning the tide in favour of the Indian Army by bluffing the tribesmen. The film being directed by Muhammad Ali stars Arjun Rampal, Manoj Bajpayee, Boman Irani and Arif Zakaria.


While Ajay Devgn is busy shooting for his historical movie Taanaji, it is heard that he has given the nod to yet another historical movie Chanakya to be directed by Neeraj Pandey. The film is based on the 4th century BC scholar, advisor, economist and political strategist Chanakya who helped establish the Maurya dynasty. As of now, Ajay has been finalised for the title role but the rest of the cast is yet to be announced for the Reliance Entertainment movie.