MANIKARNIKA â€“ THE QUEEN OF JHANSI is the story of the brave Rani Laxmibai. Manikarnika (Kangana Ranaut) lives in Bithoor and is a favorite of the Peshwa (Suresh Oberoi) and he has brought her up with lot of love.
One day Dixit Ji of Jhansi (Kulbhushan Kharbanda) spots her facing a ferocious tiger fearlessly. Impressed, he asks Peshwa for her hand in marriage with Jhansi's king Gangadhar Rao (Jisshu Sengupta). Dixit Ji is aware that the British is eyeing Jhansi and wants to annexe the kingdom at any cost. He realities that her brave persona would play a crucial role in giving a tough fight to the British. The marriage takes place and the king gives her a new name â€“ Laxmibai. All these developments upset Gangadhar's brother Sadashiv (Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub). He is friendly with the British and wants to usurp the throne by hook or by crook. Laxmibai, after a few years, gives birth to Damodar and she is unable to contain her happiness. Her joy however is short-lived as Sadashiv surreptitiously poisons Damodar. Gangadhar, at the same time, falls ill too.
Knowing that his end is near, he and Laxmibai adopt a son. Gangadhar passes away and the British attempt to annexe the throne. However, Laxmibai surprises everyone as she decides to take over the reins. She proclaims herself as the queen of Jhansi and challenges the British openly. What happens next forms the rest of the film.