Avinash Lohana (MUMBAI MIRROR; May 1, 2017)

Mirror (April 6) had recently reported that Kangana Ranaut, who plays the warrior queen in her next film, Manikarnika — The Queen of Jhansi, has kicked off prep with riding lessons by Suresh Tapuriah. Next up, the actress will head to Varanasi to unveil a 20-feet poster of her look from the film at the Dashashwamedh ghat on May 4. Adman lyricist Prasoon Joshi is penning a poem for composers Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy to perform live at the event. The makers chose Varanasi as Lakshmibai was born in the holy city in 1828 to a Marathi-Brahmin family.

"I grew up in Uttar Pradesh and was fascinated with Rani Lakshmibai. I believe she and I have been searching for each other all these years and while the poem is about all that she stood for and is the soul of the film, it is not an eulogy. I'm still writing it but the last line will definitely read 'kab tak aise vaar sahoge'. I am meeting the composers on Tuesday for a jam session," informs the National Award-winning writer who will be referring to his past writings on the queen for the Krish-directed film. He is also writing the dialogue and all the songs. The Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Baahubali writer, KV Vijayendra Prasad, has written story and screenplay.

"When I met him he told me he was destined to do this film as he has named his daughter Manikarnika, after the Rani of Jhansi as he was very inspired by her," reveals Kamal Jain, who is producing the film with Zee Studios.

Prasoon reveals that while the film will showcase various phases in the Rani's life, the focus will be on her rising against the enemy. "I'd written dialogue and lyrics for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag earlier. I know there's the danger of repeating myself, but I enjoy the challenge. I compartmentalise my work, focusing on one aspect at a time, so there is no duplication," adds Prasoon.

Will Kangana contribute to the script? "I am always open to ideas. Kangana is passionate about the film and someone I've always admired," he says.