Sonu Sood, who was playing the role of Sadashiv in the period biopic Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi, has walked out of the project due to his professional commitment towards Simmba, a film that is being directed by Rohit Shetty.
Soon after his exit from the film, Kangana Ranaut, who is playing the role of Queen of Jhansi – Rani Laxmi Bai, reportedly said that Sood left the project because he “refused to work under a woman director”. Reports also suggested that the actor walked out of the project after a showdown with Kangana.
The actress released a statement saying, “Sonu and I haven’t even met since the last shot with Krish (director) last year. He is busy filming Simmba. He couldn’t even give us tentative dates to match combinations with other actors. The producers showed him the film and writers narrated the patchwork to him. He refused to meet me. He vehemently denied to work under a woman director, which is kind of amusing because Sonu is a dear friend and I have even launched the music of a film that he produced at his request. Even though the team suggested that they have full faith in me, it seems, Sonu had neither dates nor faith.”
Her team also refuted the rumours claiming that she is directing the film instead of Krish Jagarlamudi, who is also directing the YS Rajasekhara Reddy biopic starring Mammootty. The statement read:
Krish Jagarlamudi is the director of #Manikarnika and will remain so. #KanganaRanaut has stepped in to shoot just the patchwork on his behalf while he fulfills his commitments in another movie, to make sure that #Manikarnika releases on 25th Jan 2019. The clapboard is merely to avoid on set confusion
Following Kangana’s accusations, Sonu Sood issued a statement saying, “Kangana is a dear friend and she will always remain one but this constant playing the woman card, the victim card and making this entire issue about male chauvinism is ridiculous. The gender of the director is not the issue, competence is. Let’s not confuse the two. I’ve worked with Farah Khan who’s a competent woman director and Farah and I had a great professional equation and we are still best of friends . That’s all I would like to say.”
The movie about the rebellion of 1857 is slated to release on January 25, 2019. There were speculations earlier as well that that Kangana is co-directing the film. The director had then said, “She (Kangana) will only be playing the lead role. That’s it.”