In ‘Heeramandi’, Bhansali creates an opulent, larger-than-life slice of forgotten history


A still from ‘Heeramandi’ (ANI)

Ted Sarandos of Netflix and Sanjay Leela Bhansali come together in Mumbai to exchange insights on the expanding world of Indian and global storytelling

Our Bureau

Filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali is all set to make his OTT debut with ‘Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar’ web show. On Tuesday, an intriguing asset of the show was unveiled. Sonakshi Sinha, Aditi Rao Hydari, Richa Chadha, Sanjeeda Sheikh and Sharmin Segal formed an ensemble cast of ‘Heeramandi’ world.

The series is set in the midst of multiple power struggles in Heeramandi, Lahore (now part of Pakistan) and more generally in undivided, pre-independence India, where anti-colonial freedom movements were emerging.

Sharing the first look on Instagram, Netflix India wrote in the caption, “Here’s your first look at legendary Indian creator Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s first series EVER: Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar!”

‘Heeramandi’ has been Bhansali’s one of the most important projects. Talking about it, Bhansali earlier said, “This is an epic, first-of-its-kind series based on the courtesans of Lahore. It is an ambitious, grand and all-encompassing series; therefore I am nervous yet excited about making it. I am looking forward to my partnership with Netflix and bringing Heeramandi to audiences all over the world.”

The makers described the show as “a mix of love, betrayal, succession, and politics in the kothas (house of courtesans).”

‘Heeramandi’, which will be out on OTT this year, is Bhansali’s world, where aesthetics meet opulence. The director, along with, Netflix’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos unveiled the first glimpse of his first global drama series, ‘Heeramandi’ on Saturday.

‘Heeramandi’ promises Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s signature style of larger-than-life stories, intricate and soulful characters, and rippling dynamics of a world rife with conflict during a defining time period for India. Like all of the auteur’s creations, ‘Heeramandi’ will have unique compositions and music that linger with the audience, just like his stories.

Ted Sarandos and Sanjay Leela Bhansali came together in Mumbai to exchange insights on the expanding world of Indian and global storytelling, how variety and diversity in stories were evolving audiences’ tastes and its impact on viewing habits worldwide. During the sit-down, the two discussed innovative formats, creative collaborations and the need to nurture creativity.

The pair indulged in their shared love for films and series, the global scale of their vision, and discussed their ambition to continue creating memorable entertainment that stays with people long after they’ve experienced it. They gave us a peek into their own all-time favourite stories and inspiration that guided their lives. The conversation on creativity ended with the unveiling of the teaser of ‘Heeramandi.’

In praise of Bhansali’s vision, Sarandos said, “At Netflix, we take pride in partnering with the best creators from around the world. Sanjay Leela Bhansali is a true visionary, and we are thrilled to collaborate with him.”

Alia Bhatt can’t wait to watch filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar’. Taking to Instagram story, Ali shared the video and wrote, “Pure magic. Can not wait!!!!”

After ‘Goliyon Ki Rasleela – Ram Leela’ film, actor Richa Chadha who is working with director Sanjay Leela Bhansali in his upcoming debut series on a global OTT platform ‘Heeramandi’ expressed how lucky she is to be part of this project.

Sharing about her experience working with Bhansali not once but twice. Richa said ,”Sanjay sir is a visionary, magician, storyteller… I have never felt so stretched out of my comfort zone as a performer. So many times, I go on a set and the director tells me ‘app to kar hi logi, you were so great in this film, that film. Honestly, i feel like saying that was 10 years ago, I am not the same person I was even one year ago. i have evolved, I have grown. I am a director’s actor, I love being pushed to my maximum potential. I like to be challenged till my throat is dry and i have nausea from nervousness.”

She added, “And hence, I loved working with Sanjay sir as he is so respectful of collaboration. He doesn’t suffer fools easily and has high standards. I’d rather work with a taskmaster who holds himself to a high standard than a director who coddles me but makes a shit film. Being associated with SLB and his project in any capacity is always an honour. And I feel lucky that I got that chance twice, the first one being Goliyon Ki Rasleela – Ram Leela. But Heeramandi will always be special place since it is one of many firsts. You will see.”

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