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Hollywood has its own Queen of Jhansi biopic with actress Devika Bhise

The international production will compete with the Indian biopic on the legend, Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi, starring Kangana Ranaut.

Sonal Pandya

Hollywood has a competing Rani Lakshmibai biopic due to be released next year. Titled Swords and Sceptres, the period drama will be directed by Swati Bhise, who has also produced the biopic on Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015). 

Her daughter, actress Devika Bhise, who played wife to Dev Patel’s Ramanujan in The Man Who Knew Infinity, is stepping into the lead role of Rani Lakshmibai. Devika has also co-written the script with Swati Bhise and Olivia Emden. 

Hollywood trade magazine Variety has reported that actors Rupert Everett and Derek Jacobi are also a part of the cast. They play Lord Palmerston and Sir Hugh Rose, respectively, while actress Jodhi May will be seen as Queen Victoria. 

Indian artistes Nagesh Bhonsle, Yatin Karyekar, Milind Gunaji, Arif Zakaria, and Ajinkya Deo are also a part of the project. 

The biopic will tell the story of the queen of Jhansi’s fight against the British army in the mutiny of 1857.

Director Swati Bhise told Variety, “It’s an incredible story about a woman who fought for what she believed in. Her story is one of female empowerment, more relevant now than ever, and can be drawn upon to inspire women all around the world.”

The cast and crew have been shooting in Jodhpur, Rajasthan and will continue filming in Jaipur and later go to the UK and Morocco to complete the film.

Devika has been sharing behind-the-scenes updates from the film's progress on her Instagram page, showing her training regiment as Rani Lakshmibai.