My integrity was questioned: Filmmaker Krish on Manikarnika controversy in an exclusive interview
Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi, popularly known as Krish, had a dream — to make a masterpiece based on the life of Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi. However, post the release of Kangana Ranaut-starrer Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi, the Hyderabad-based filmmaker has found himself in the midst of a controversy. “Everybody who knows me can vouch for my work. I’m not here to make just money but I’m here because I’m passionate about cinema. But when I saw my name changed in the credits and was after Kangana’s, I was hurt. My reputation was maligned and my integrity, questioned,” says the 40-year-old.
Even before the film went on floors, the Nandi awardee had written his own version of the story. So when the offer came to him, he was elated and said yes, without a second thought. “I was looking forward to directing the film from the moment I agreed to do it. My cinematographer Shekar (Gnana Shekar VS) and I spent time in Jhansi and Gwalior. We also read a lot of books about the queen before we began shooting,” he adds.
Interestingly, in December last year, there was news that Krish ‘walked out of the film’, owing to his commitments with Telugu biopics on NT Rama Rao’s life. Krish, however, points out that 95 percent of the film was complete before he moved on to his next project. “I remember we finished shooting and edited in June last year with just four days of patchwork left. Everybody even dubbed for the film except Kangana. Later, I was informed that Sonu Sood was being replaced and his scenes were being shot again,” confesses the Guntur-born director. Sonu was initially cast as an antagonist Sadashiv Rao, and was replaced by Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub after he left the production, owing to reported ‘disagreements’.
“I chose not to talk about any of this publicly for the sake of my team. When there’s a controversy about a movie, the audience watches it with a certain mindset. I didn’t want the film’s success to be affected because of what I said and did,” he says, adding, “It’s not about my anger but it’s about making sure something like this doesn’t happen again to anybody.”
Kangana, however, has maintained silence over the issue and has not reacted. Several attempts to broach the subject with her and reach her through her representatives proved futile.