Whether or not it was a conscious decision for the producers of Manikarnika to move the film’s release date to January 25, the same as Hrithik Roshan’s Super 30, is still unclear, but keeping its stars’ personal histories in mind, conspiracy theories are already in place.

Kangana Ranaut, who plays the Rani of Jhansi in Manikarnika, had earlier said that the film could miss its scheduled August release date. The makers recently announced that the film will be postponed till Republic Day, 2019. Super 30, a drama based on the life of Bihar mathematician Anand Kumar, had already been slotted for that date. However, Kangana and Hrithik have been involved in a well-publicised feud for years.

Manikarnika producer Kamal Jain denied that the clash was deliberate, according to the Telegraph. He said Manikarnika deserved to release either on Independence Day or Republic Day. Since they missed the August date, they settled for Republic Day.

The personal clash began in 2016, when Kangana called Hrithik her ‘silly ex’ in an interview. Hrithik swiftly denied having dated her, while she alleged that the two had developed a relationship while making Krrish 3 together. Hrithik was still married to ex-wife Sussanne Khan then, but the marriage was troubled.

Hrithik sent Kangana a legal notice, stating that “Since quite sometime you (Kangana) have been insinuating and trying to create an image within the film industry through print and social media and in public at large that there was some relationship between our client (Hrithik) and you.”

Kangana filed a counter notice, which was followed by public accusations made by both parties, which ended with Hrithik claiming that Kangana had indeed developed a romantic relationship, but with an imposter.

Trade analyst Atul Mohan told the Telegraph that he thinks the box office clash was a deliberate move on Kangana’s part. “Looking at what we saw a few months back, it appears to be a clash of egos. But considering the stakes involved, they are dependant on a big weekend, which coincides with a national holiday. Super 30 is an inspiring tale for parents and students and Manikarnika comes with patriotism. At the end of the day, it’s only content which will do the talking,” he said.

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