With war playing a pivotal role in Rani Laxmibai’s life, it was mandatory that the stunts in Kangana Ranaut’s Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi be designed and choreographed by someone having the accurate and inbuilt understanding of action.
After looking at his action work in Gladiator (2000) and The Last Samurai (2003) Kangana Ranaut and producer Kamal Jain knew that international action choreographer Nick Powell would be an apt person for this job.
While speaking to a publication about his first Bollywood project, Powell said that he designed the sequences keeping with 19th century setting of the biopic. “I had to be correct in terms of artillery used in that era. So all my action had to be centered around horse riding and sword fighting”.
Manikarnika had all the action sequences being done by a woman was another impressive thing for Powell.
“Kangana insisted on doing all the action herself. The idea was to show a warrior who had been learning the ropes since a young age. Kangana practiced sword fighting for eight hours a day and convincingly pulled off each stunt. I’ve worked with likes of Russell Crowe, Tom Cruise, and Brad Pitt but she gave me a unique experience in which an actress was leading the pack. There were times when she pulled off smoother stunts than Tom Cruise” he laughs.
Powell had shot for 30 days in July last year but was called back again on set in this year earlier to re-shoot some parts and portions under Kangana Ranaut’s vision.
Further, Powell said, “They wanted to better what they achieved. So when I requested for an additional crew of 25 experts who specialize in sword fighting and rope works they immediately agreed”.
Nick Powell is an ace Hollywood action choreographer who’ll also be seen directing action sequences in the Magnum Opus Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi & superstar Rajnikanth’s next film 2.0.