Giving audiences a preview of what’s to come in 2019, the first look of Ankita Lokhande as Jhalkari Bai in Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi was officially revealed today (13 December). Lokhande’s character was a close advisor of the queen and one of the two images released shows Jhalkari with a rifle. The other, likely taken on the sets, has Lokhande on a horse in character.
The makers have previously teased with the actress’s character and look before. On Jhalkari Bai’s 188th birth anniversary on 22 November, Lokhande had shared a photograph of herself lined up with that of the female soldier.
She had written: Jhalkaribai was a woman soldier who played an important role in the Indian Rebellion of 1857. She served in the women’s army of Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi. She eventually rose to a position of a prominent advisor to the queen, Rani of Jhansi herself. Her heroism and sacrifices for the society are unsung but this woman was one of the most important factors in the battle of Jhansi. I had never thought that I would get a chance to play such a strong character in my life but Manikarnika had taken me to a journey of not only discovering the real Jhalkari Bai but also helped me discover the Jhalkari Bai in me.
Producer Kamal Jain had said in November, “Jhalkari Bai was an extraordinary woman and a great soldier. It is too bad that not many people are aware of her courage and how she faced the Britishers. She was the close aide of the Queen and as she looked so much like Manikarnika, she helped deceive the British Army.”
Jain felt Lokhande had “given her heart and soul” to play the character in the film.
The first full trailer of the film is due to be released on 18 December. The period film, produced by Zee Studios and Kamal Jain, will be released in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu on 25 January 2019 where it will compete against educational-themed Super 30 and Cheat India, and the biopic Thackeray.