Swati Semwal Image Credit: Supplied

Actress Swati Semwal says she has quit Kangana Ranaut’s Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi as she was unsure if her role would have been substantial enough following Sonu Sood’s exit from the movie.

Semwal was to play the character of Parvati, wife of Maratha Army commander-in chief Sadhashivrao Bhau, originally to be played by Sood and is now being essayed by Zeeshan Ayyub.

“I have quit the project. Earlier also I was not sure, I was in two minds, but a few days back, my team had a meeting and we decided to quit the project because I don’t think at this point of time, this project is good for the career path that I am taking,” said Semwal.

She said her decision was conveyed to the film’s team earlier this week.

The actress, last seen in films like Bareilly Ki Barfi and Fanney Khan, says the meeting was held as she wanted to know more about the project and about how her role was shaping up and what is it going to be.

“After the meeting, I realised that it was not so significant anymore. It was not what we signed for when I signed the film, so we decided to part ways,” she added.

Did Sood’s exit from the project last month drive her decision to exit the Rani Laxmibai biopic?

“Not really. At this point, whatever project I am signing for or even what I have done, whether it is Bareilly Ki Barfi or Fanney Khan... Not that they were very big roles, but whatever was there, was pretty substantial,” she said.

“I’m looking for performance-oriented, substantial roles. I am not stuck on lead roles, but whatever I have to do, I want it to be substantial enough and even Manikarnika had a pretty strong character. But now I don’t think so it’s the same anymore,” she added.

For Semwal, the alarm bells rang when she realised that while Sood was required to dedicate almost three months to the project, his replacement Ayyub’s requirement was much less.

“My work would have definitely reduced. Thinking about that, we decided we should not take this up again. Now, I don’t know whether the writers, Kangana or producer took this decision, but I am sure whatever they are doing, they are doing in the best interest for the film,” she said.

“Everyone wants the film to go ahead and do well. From my side, I have no bad feelings or a bitter taste. One has to do what one has do. I am doing what I have to do for my career. And they have to do what they have to do for the film,” added Semwal.

Director Krish was helming the movie, but as he got busy with his other film, Ranaut stepped in to direct the rest of the film.

While Sood left the movie owing to his professional commitment towards Simmba, Ranaut claimed he left the movie as he “refused to work under a woman director”.

Produced by Zee Studios and Kamal Jain, Manikarnika is set to release in India on January 25, 2019.

Kangana Ranaut is ‘proud’

Meanwhile, the film’s teaser is ready to drop on October 2, on Gandhi Jayanti (birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi).

Ranaut says she is proud of Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi, and is looking forward to its release.

“I am extremely proud of this film, portraying a character who empowers and inspires. We have put in our heart, blood and sweat into making this film,” she said in a statement.

Manikarnika... will make each and every Indian proud. I am quite ecstatic to showcase the teaser to everyone on this special occasion of Gandhi Jayanti,” she added,

“The film captures different facets of Rani Laxmibai, who was not only one of the greatest warriors, but also an outstanding human being whose courage resonates with people even today,” said producer Kamal Jain.

To which, Shariq Patel, CEO Zee Studios, added: “The film celebrates and salutes the extraordinary journey of India’s fiercest warrior queen.”