Manikarnika depicts the valiant warrior of Indian History: Rani Laxmibai. The role played by Kangana Ranaut and she had to learn some real action including Sword. The movie has war as a crucial part and hence it needed someone who had an innate understanding of action.
So the producer Kamal Jain and Kangana Ranaut selected international action choreographer Nick Powell. The reason behind his selection was his impeccable work in Gladiator 2000, The Last Samurai 2003.
Nick Powell studied the war tactics of the 19th century.
“I had to be correct in terms of the artillery they used in that era. So, all my action had to centred around horse riding and sword fighting.” That Manikarnika saw the action sequences being led by a woman artist was another incentive for Powell
Kangana insisted on doing all the action herself.
“The idea was to show a warrior who has been learning the ropes from a young age. Kangana practised sword fighting for eight hours a day, and convincingly pulled off each stunt. I have worked with the likes of Russell Crowe, Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, but she gave me the unique experience in which an actress was leading the pack. There were times when she pulled off smoother stunts than Tom Cruise,”
They wanted to better what they had achieved. So when I requested for an additional crew of 25 experts who specialise in rope work and sword fights, they immediately agreed.
“I got a sense of the scope of movies in this country thanks to Manikarnika and Shankar’s film. I will be returning to shoot another film in two months.” Jain adds, “We reached out to Nick Powell after seeing his work and within a week, he was in my Juhu office. He was excited about designing stunts for a leading lady.”