I was mislead and lied to: Mishti Chakraborty
The actor opens up about her limited appearance as Kashibai in the recent historical biopic Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi
Mishti Chakraborty, who plays the role of Kashibai in Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi, has slammed lead actor and co-director Kangana Ranaut for misleading her and chopping off her role from the film.
Released on January 25, the biopic on Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi has been at the centre of multiple controversies. Earlier, actor Sonu Sood had walked out of the project citing creative differences with Kangana. Recently, Telugu filmmaker Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi, popularly known as Krish, accused Kangana of high-jacking the film from him, refuting prior claims that he had left the project to direct the NTR biopic.
Mishti spoke to us about why she felt wronged by the makers of Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi upon watching the finished film.
Excerpts from an interview:
You have claimed that your role as Kashibai in Manikarnika was not presented properly in the theatrical cut of the film. What has stirred your decision to speak out?
It’s not just about my role getting chopped off, you see. I acknowledge that in every film some degree of editing is involved. That is not my question. My question is, why was I lied to? Kangana herself had told me that she needed to strengthen my role in the film. She said it was unclear why the queen is giving her child to Kashibai, even though these portions were already shot by Krish. She told me she wanted to give a better shape to my role. She literally came to me, sweet-talked and lied to me.
Obviously, a lot of people will be asking, ‘Why are you complaining now? Manikarnika is supposed to be about Manikarnika.’ Look, I have no problem with that. But, whenever you sign an actor, you have to explain to them what the script is and what their scenes and dialogues are. Every artist needs to know what he or she is doing in the film, even if it is for just five minutes.
What was the issue with the extension of your dates?
After the film was completed, they (Kangana and producer Kamal Jain) were behind me to extend my dates. I had already shot for a year for Manikarnika; it couldn’t be the last film of my life. Kamal Jain told me that Kangana is working so much to flesh out my character. What was the need to make such fake statements? That is cheating, right? We all signed the project thinking we were a significant part of the film. If that was not the case, they should have made the film with Kangana alone. Why use even one extra? Is a film only made by one person?
There are conflicting claims about the credit-share between Kangana and Krish. What was your reaction when you saw the film?
I was shocked to see that the first director credit was given to Kangana, followed by Krish’s full name (Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi). I have been a part of this film — I’ve seen Krish giving his heart and soul to the film. He has worked for so many days. You can’t just shoot for the last 5-10 days and claim that you have shot 70% of the film.
So you are saying that the majority of the film is Krish’s work?
The majority is Krish’s work, but it has been re-arranged in the editing, which is obviously done by Kangana. I agree that the film and Rani Lakshmibai's character are looking nice, and it’s good that the film is doing well. All I am saying that is I should’ve been informed about what I was doing. I figured out later that they needed me to match some lines with what I had shot previously, which is why they lied to me and made me work. I am not claiming anything more. My whole point is that I was misled and lied to.
What were the scenes featuring you that went missing from the final cut?
There were two-three more scenes, not much, but they were powerful ones. There was this scene where Kangana is busy fighting and for a moment she forgets about her child. A Britisher tries to take the child and kill it, when I come in, fighting among the soldiers, and stop the man. It was followed by a moment where I and Kangana exchange a glance together. Later in the film, you see the child calling Kangana 'ma' as she leaves. I come and huge the child. Now, why would I do it if I have no (pre-established) bonding with it?
You have worked in multiple industries across India. What about your Manikarnika experience do you consider the most disappointing — something you have never seen happen elsewhere?
I have never seen somebody take away the credits of a director. Krish is a genuine person who is humble, light-hearted, dignified and a hugely talented director. I think if somebody is taking away his credit, we must talk about it and protest about it, whether we gain from it or not. Many on social media are saying I am doing this to get my 10-minutes of fame. Come on, I don't need Kangana Ranaut to get my fame. I have better ways of getting famous.