Ranaut interacted with the media at the trailer launch of Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi along with co-stars Ankita Lokhande, Mishti and Suresh Oberoi as well as producer Kamal Jain, writer KV Vijayendra Prasad and music composers Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy here on Tuesday.
The Queen (2014) star stepped into the film’s original director Krish’s shoes after he departed from the project owing to scheduling conflicts and creative differences.
Asked whether she wants to pursue direction in the future as well, Ranaut said: “I was telling my sister yesterday, I don’t know what it is about me that I really love working as a technician as no actor wants to be out in the sun as opposed to being in the air-conditioned van.
“No actor wants to be sweaty where 80 people are asking you like 100 questions. No actor wants to do a recce of locations when you can simply be in your luxury suite. I don’t know what it is about me that I am so comfortable in this job that there is nothing that I love more than directing, even though I don’t get to wear make-up and I don’t get any special treatment.”
She added: “It is absolutely a worker’s life, to be honest, but there was something so amazing about this job. I don’t know why people consider it a job. It is just so much fun. I think acting is more like a job, but directing is just like having fun. I hope I get more chances to do this and I hope I continue doing this because this seems like my first love.”
In past interviews, Ranaut had said it was her dream to play the role of Laxmibai in her film career. So how does it feel now that her dream is being fulfilled?
“A lot of people tried to make it [the film] and before Kamalji [Jain], there was another producer who had approached me for a similar subject,” she said, referring to a stillborn project with director Ketan Mehta. “I worked on that script for two years as well, but then we didn’t get an additional producer to produce the film and that project didn’t materialize. So, I had serious setbacks with this, but eventually we came up with this film.
“Therefore, I feel today is a very special day for all of us because we have made it!”
Asked if she had learnt anything new after playing the rani of Jhansi or whether her perception about the legendary queen had changed, she said: “I haven’t learnt as such after doing this film because we had heard so many stories about her since childhood. My only brief to our costume team or music team was to match up to her legacy because it is larger than life and nothing seems good enough. The kind of stories we have heard about her bravery are amazing.
“There is one scene in the film where she jumps off her fort with her child on her back and rides a horse, but while doing that scene we were literally drained. There is nothing which seems good enough. Therefore, I feel even if we can live up to the audience expectations, it will be good.”
The film, set for release on 25 January 2019, has been produced by Zee Studios in association with Kamal Jain and Nishant Pitti.