Unnati Davara is debuting in Bollywood with Kangana Ranaut-starrer Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi. The winner of 2010 Femina Miss India East title, plays the character of Mundar, a warrior and one of Rani Laxmibai’s closest allies.
Unnati says, “I’m playing a fierce warrior, Mundar, who doesn’t talk much, but has a very strong appearance. She’s always right next to Laxmibai, as her strongest ally. Mundar is extremely loyal towards her duties, and all the information that has to go to Rani, goes through her. Maybe, that’s why Rani trusts her completely and confides in her as a friend.”
Unnati also discloses that she landed the role in the film on the basis of horse riding! Unnati says “Mr Kamal Jain (producer) kept me in his mind and straight away offered me Mundar’s role as we know each other from a couple of years. The only question that he asked me before signing the film was, that ‘do you know how to ride a horse, since it’s a role of a warrior;’ and I was like, ‘Yes!!’”
But her memories of horse riding wasn’t very fond, as the actress puts it. “Although I knew riding, I was always a little afraid. I have 8-10 stitches in my head, as I met with a terrible accident as a child when I was learning to ride a horse. And that was the last time I rode a horse; and cut to now — I was offered this film on the basis of horse riding!” she added.
To take to get into the skin of the characters of a period drama is quite tough and it requires time, patience, and perseverance. Unnati and others had to undergo an extensive training in sword fighting. “Before the shoot began, we were extensively trained in sword fighting and horse riding by Hollywood stunt director Nick Powell and his team, in Hyderabad,” she informed.
“But again, after all the training, it wasn’t easy for me because of my previous experience of accident. A day prior to my shoot I got a shocker, that I won’t be riding the same horse! Since I’m a rider, I can say that one needs to build a good compatibility with the horse before riding,” said Unnati.
“Finally, I met Alex, one of the stunt guys and he said, ‘Madam daro mat, yeh Amarendra Baahubali ka ghoda hai. Unki kismat badal gai thi is ghode pe baith ke, aap ki bhi badal jayegi‘ (Madam, don’t be worry, this is Amarendra Baahubali’s horse. His destiny changed after he rod this horse, yours will changed too.). I simply smiled and hopped on,” Unnati explained.
“Trust me, people in the set thought I was riding the horse but my soul only knows that it wasn’t the case,” expressed the actress.
The actress also said that Kangana Ranaut, was one of the reasons she signed the film.
“Honestly, Kangana was also one of the reasons why I signed the film. I love her as an actor, and the way she brings all the characters in every film, is so commendable. I was excited to share my screen space with her as Jhasi ki Rani; and that too as her strongest ally, ” says Unnati.
The actress was all praises for Kangana Ranaut who plays the lead character in the film. “She’s extremely hardworking and clear on what she wants and what she doesn’t, which in a way, is amazing. To see her energy and enthusiasm towards her role made me grow as an actor. Of course, off set, we have shared our laughter and experiences. We used to click pictures, talk, and the best part was she used to guide me like a friend! All I can say is that she’s an amazing person to work with. I look forward to work with her again,” expressed an elated Unnati.
Produced by Zee Studios, and Kamal Jain, and directed by Krish and Kangana Ranaut, Manikarnika is set to release on January 25.