Heeramandi

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Heeramandi
GenreHistorical drama
Created bySanjay Leela Bhansali
Written byScreenplay:
Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Dialogues:
Divya Nidhi
Vibhu Puri
Story byMoin Baig
Directed bySanjay Leela Bhansali
Starring
Music bySongs:
Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Background Score:
Benedict Taylor
Naren Chandavarkar
Country of originIndia
Original languageHindustani
No. of episodes8
Production
Executive producers
  • Sanjay Leela Bhansali
  • Prerna Singh
CinematographySudeep Chatterjee
Mahesh Limaye
Huenstang Mohapatra
Ragul Dharuman
EditorSanjay Leela Bhansali
Production companyBhansali Productions
Budget₹200 crore[1]
Original release
NetworkNetflix
Release1 May 2024 (2024-05-01)

Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar is an Indian Hindustani language period drama television series created and directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The series is about the lives of tawaifs in the red-light district of Heera Mandi in Lahore during the Indian independence movement against the British Raj.[2] It stars Manisha Koirala, Sonakshi Sinha, Aditi Rao Hydari, Richa Chadha, Sanjeeda Sheikh, Sharmin Segal Mehta and Taha Shah Badussha.

The series was released on Netflix on 1 May 2024 to mixed reviews from critics.

Premise[edit]

With a backdrop of the Indian independence movement against British rule in India in the 1940s, Heeramandi chronicles the lives of tawaifs of the red-light district of Heera Mandi in Lahore.[3]

Cast[edit]

Main[edit]

Recurring[edit]

  • Farida Jalal as Qudsia Begum: Tajdar's grandmother[4]
  • Adhyayan Suman as Zoravar Ali Khan / Imaad: Mallikajaan's son and Lajjo's patron[5]
  • Fardeen Khan as Wali Bin Zayed-Al Mohammed: Bibbojaan's and Fareedan's patron[6]
  • Shekhar Suman as Khan Bahadur Zulfikar Ahmed: Mallikajaan's patron[7]
  • Indresh Malik as Ustaad
  • Jason Shah as Alastair Cartwright
  • Jayati Bhatia as Phatto: Mallikajaan's maid
  • Nivedita Bhargava as Satto: Mallikajaan's maid
  • Abha Ranta as young Mallikajaan
  • Vaishnavi Ganatra as young Waheeda
  • Shruti Sharma as Saima / Mirza Begum: Alamzeb's maid, Iqbal's lover
  • Rajat Kaul as Iqbal "Balli" Singh: Mallikajaan’s driver, Saima's lover
  • Pratibha Ranta as Shama: Waheeda’s daughter
  • Anuj Sharma as Hamid Mohsin Ali
  • Mark Bennington as Samuel Henderson
  • Astha Mittal as Huma
  • Nasirr Khan as Choudhry
  • Anju Mahendru as Phoophi
  • Abhishek Deswal as Nawaz
  • Ujjwal Chopra as Ashfaq Baloch: Tajdar's father

Episodes[edit]

No.TitleDirected byOriginal release date
1"Mallikajaan: The Queen of Heeramandi"Sanjay Leela Bhansali1 May 2024 (2024-05-01)
In a flashback to the beginning of the series in the early 1920s, Rehana sold the newly born son of Mallikajaan to Nawab Qutub UD Din. In the present of 1940s, Mallikajaan is now the Madam of Shahi Mehal whose elder daugher, Bibbo Jan is the most famous courtesan of Lahore, whereas her younger daughter Alamzeb does not want to join her sister and wants to be a poet. Her mother prepares for her deflowering ceremony. Mallikajaan treats her younger sister Waheeda badly who happens to have a scar on her face. She also has a foster daughter Lajjo who is expecting her patron, Nawab Zoravar will marry her. Alamzeb meets young nawab Tajdar at her home and both are smitten with each other.
2"Fareedanjaan: The Challenger Returns"Sanjay Leela Bhansali1 May 2024 (2024-05-01)
It is revealed that Mallikajaan murdered Rehana along with Zulfikar's help. In the present, Nawab Zoravar (Lajjo's patron) is getting married to Nawab's daughter and he invites Lajjo to perform at his wedding. A heartbroken Lajjo is disrespected and mistreated by Zoravar. Mallikajaan shows up at the wedding to rebuke Zorawar and reveal his true identity. Zoravar is Mallika's illegitimate son, sold to Qutub Ud din by Rehana. Lajjo, who has taken to excessive drinking dies of shock. At her funeral, Fareedan (Rehana's daughter who is sold to a rich merchant by Mallikajaan at 9 years of age) returns to Heeramandi and promises to take revenge for her mother.
3"Waheedajaan: Scarred for Life"Sanjay Leela Bhansali1 May 2024 (2024-05-01)
In a flashback, Waheeda, Mallika's sister is scarred by Zulfikar and Mallika when she asks for rights to Khwabgah. Back in the present, the rights to Khwabgah are being contested by the widow of Rehana's late lover. Mallikajaan wins the mansion and hands it to the widow, in order to deprive Fareedanjaan who is the actual owner, as she was Rehana's heir but the widow gives the Khwabgah to Fareedan.
4"Alamzeb: The Innocent Pawn"Sanjay Leela Bhansali1 May 2024 (2024-05-01)
Fareedan who is now Mallikajaan's neighbour grows closer to Alamzeb. Amidst growing pressure from her mother, Alamzeb tries to meet Tajdar, and ultimately agrees for her debut when Mallikajaan threatens to sell off her maid and friend Saima. Fareedan sends a fake letter to Alamzeb pretending to be Tajdar and asks her to meet him, and manages to convince her to leave Heeramandi. Driver Iqbal gets captured by the Police, and is interrogated and tortured by Cartwright.
5"Tajdar: The Lover's Dilemma"Sanjay Leela Bhansali1 May 2024 (2024-05-01)
Encouraged and aided by Fareedan, Alamzeb runs away from her debut, leaving Mallikajaan bitter and scorned. She goes to Tajdar, who is repulsed by her Heeramandi background but grudgingly offers her refuge at his home. They grow closer and love blossoms despite his father's objections. Bibbo gets closer to Henderson to help the group of freedom fighters in their movement. Fareedan seeks to reopen the cold case of her mother's murder in order to extract revenge from Mallikajaan. Waheeda is insulted by Bibbo after she tempts Henderson away from one of Waheeda's first mujras in a long time. Mallika ventures to the Baloch residence to check up on Alamzeb.
6"Tajdar & Alamzeb: Nation vs. Love"Sanjay Leela Bhansali1 May 2024 (2024-05-01)
Alamzeb and Tajdar arrive at Amrood Kothi, and is coldly received by Tajdar's family. Waheeda seeks to get her revenge from Mallika, by giving Fareedan the file which contains evidence of Rehana's murder. Zulfikar gives Mallika valuable evidence against Fareedan, which she threatens to leak to the police if she proceeded to open the case of Rehana's murder again. Bibbo receives crucial information about a British operation. Freedom fighters attempt to steal weapons from a British cantonment, and Amrood Kothi is raided the following morning, leading to Alamzeb's arrest.
7"Bibbojaan: Long Live the Revolution"Sanjay Leela Bhansali1 May 2024 (2024-05-01)
Revolution against the British continues to brew amongst the nation and builds amongst the tawaifs of Heeramandi, as the scheming Mallika is gravely insulted and assaulted by the British, as she tries to get Alamzeb freed. Tajdar and Qudsia come to Mallika with a marriage proposal for Alamzeb, which she agrees to but sets an ultimatum time for the groom's procession to arrive. Ashfaq turns in Tajdar to the British to prevent him from marrying Alamzeb. As the procession did not arrive at the prescribed time, Alamzeb reluctantly performs her Nath-Uthrayi as Tajdar is tortured and brutally murdered by the British. Fareedan bears witness to his murder.
8"Heeramandi: The Swan Song"Sanjay Leela Bhansali1 May 2024 (2024-05-01)
Alamzeb visits Tajdar's grave and Ashfaq regrets handing over Tajdar to Cartwright and mourns his death. Mallika tells Fareedan to join hands with her. Bibbo brings the freedom fighters inside Shahi Mahal. The Nawabs refuse to go to Heeramandi fearing for their lives. Bibbo kills off Henderson and gets arrested and is to be executed on the next day. The next day, All the Tawaifs of the Heeramandi including, Mallika, Fareedan and Waheeda march towards the execution place to pay last respects to Bibbo while Alamzeb kills off Cartwright. A new struggle begins for the tawaifs of Heeramandi: to live in a new world with respect and dignity.

Production[edit]

Heera Mandi was officially announced in April 2021, as a project Bhansali had envisaged 14 years ago.[8] The eight-part series, which also marks Bhansali's first foray into streaming, began filming in June 2022.[9] Filming was reported to have ended a year later in June 2023, after Bhansali asked for reshoots in May.[10][11] Bollywood Hungama reported that Bhansali directed the pilot episode, while the rest of the episodes were directed by Mitakshara Kumar, who had worked as an associate director to Bhansali in Bajirao Mastani and Padmaavat, replacing Vibhu Puri, who had previously been hired.[12]

In a 2023 interview with Netflix's CEO Ted Sarandos, Bhansali described Heeramandi as his "biggest project" and that that the series would be a tribute to the films Mother India (1957), Mughal-e-Azam (1960), and Pakeezah (1972).[13]

In an interview designers Rimple Narula and Harpreet Narula revealed that some of the creations for the series, were inspired from the style of Patience Cooper, Suraiya, Swaran Lata, Noor Jehan, Shamshad Begum and Mukhtar Begum.[14] In an interview with Lilly Singh, Sanjay Leela Bhansali also said that he wanted to cast the likes of Mahira Khan, Fawad Khan and Imran Abbas in the series but it could not happen due to the ban on collaborating with actors from Pakistan.[15]

Soundtrack[edit]

Heeramandi
Soundtrack album by
Released29 April 2024[16]
Recorded2021 – 2023
Studio
  • Studio 504
  • Sonic Bliss Studio
GenreFeature film soundtrack
Length32:40
LanguageHindi
LabelBhansali Music
Sanjay Leela Bhansali chronology
Gangubai Kathiawadi
(2022)
Heeramandi
(2024)
TBA
Official audio
Heeramandi - Full Album on YouTube

The first song from the soundtrack "Sakal Ban", composed by Bhansali, with lyrics written by Amir Khusro and sung by Raja Hasan, was released on 8 March 2024.[17] On 2 April, the second song "Tilasmi Bahein", sung by Sharmistha Chatterjee, was released.[18] The folk songs "Phool Gendwa Na Maaro" and "Nazariya Ki Maari" had earlier been used in the Bollywood films Dooj Ka Chand (1964) and Pakeezah (1972) respectively.[19]

Each composition has been picturized on every actor from the primary cast, mostly in the form of their mujra performances in the show. "Tilasmi Bahein" is picturized on Sonakshi Sinha, "Phool Gendwa Na Maaro" and "Saiyaan Hatto Jaao" on Aditi Rao Hydari, "Chaudhavi Shab" on Sharmin Segal, "Nazariya Ki Maari" on Sanjeeda Shaikh and "Masoom Dil Hai Mera" on Richa Chadha. "Sakal Ban" and "Azadi" include most of the primary female cast.

All music is composed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali under his own record label, Bhansali Music.

Track listing
No.TitleLyricsSinger(s)Length
1."Tilasmi Bahein"A. M. TurazSharmistha Chatterjee2:19
2."Sakal Ban"Amir KhusroRaja Hasan2:30
3."Azadi"A. M. TurazArchana Gore, Pragati Joshi, Aditi Prabhudesai, Arohi, Aditi Paul, Tarannum Malik Jain, Dipti Rege3:53
4."Chaudhavi Shab"A. M. TurazShreya Ghoshal4:03
5."Masoom Dil Hai Mera"A. M. TurazShikha Joshi3:56
6."Phool Gendwa Na Maaro"TraditionalBarnali Ganguly3:13
7."Saiyaan Hatto Jaao"A. M. TurazBarnali Ganguly5:13
8."Ek Baar Dekh Lijiye"A. M. TurazKalpana Gandharva4:11
9."Nazariya Ki Maari"TraditionalMadhubanti Bagchi3:17
Total length:32:40

Release[edit]

A teaser of the series was released in February 2024, with a release date planned on Netflix for later in the year.[3][20] The following month, it was announced that the series would premiere on 1 May 2024.[21]

Reception[edit]

Viewership[edit]

During April 29 – May 5, 2024, Heeramandi was the second most-watched non-English show on Netflix globally.[22] It received 4.5 million views, with 33 million viewership hours in its debut week, breaking the record for the most-viewed Indian series in its first week of release.[23][24] It was trending at number-one in 10 countries and was among the top ten most-watched shows in 43 countries.[22][23]

Critical response[edit]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 45% of 11 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 5.7/10.[25]

Shilajit Mitra of The Hindu stated "Filmed on a massive budget, Heeramandi is stunning to behold."[26] Dhaval Roy of The Times of India commented "Heeramandi, overall, might feel like a long watch, but the cinematic experience will linger on long after its conclusion."[27]

Lachmi Deb Roy of Firstpost gave 4/5 stars and commended, "Bhansali‘s eight-part series is not only a treat to the eyes, but is a lesson of history too".[28] Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV gave 3 stars and praised Bansali's effort. Chatterjee stated that "In the climate that obtains in today's India, the espousal of the subcontinent's entrenched syncretism is a noteworthy thematic strand that should not be lost in the hypnotic glow of the glitzy Heeramandi universe that Bhansali conjures up."[29]

Sukanya Verma of Rediff.com rated 3/5 stars and observed "Heeramandi, a passion project that took off after years in development and planning, mirrors Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film-making's finest and frustrating features."[30] Shubhra Gupta for The Indian Express rated the series 2.5 stars and opined "Bhansali's world, awash with his trademark shine and glitter, sets out to tell us the story of these 'other' women, once such an integral part of Indian popular culture."[31]

Indian classical dancer, and founder of The Courtesan Project, Manjari Chaturvedi believes that "Heeramandi does not make a good distinction between tawaifs and prostitutes or sex workers. It leaves people with the impression that tawaifs were illiterate women scheming for mere sexual favours. Heeramandi does not have much reference to the historical tawaif culture."[32]

See also[edit]

  • Rajkahini (2015) and Begum Jaan (2017), Indian films on a similar prostitute topic set during the partition of India
  • Jaanisaar (2015), Indian film about tawaifs during the Indian Rebellion of 1857
  • Kalank (2019), Indian film about tawaifs and the partition of India

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Jaan" in the names here being an endearing suffix, see Jan.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Netflix's 'Heeramandi' budget around Rs 200 crore, creator Sanjay Leela Bhansali took home Rs 60-65 crore, other stars got paid…". Firstpost. 2 May 2024. Archived from the original on 2 May 2024. Retrieved 2 May 2024.
  2. ^ Frater, Patrick (1 February 2024). "Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar' Drops First Footage". Variety. Archived from the original on 1 February 2024. Retrieved 31 January 2024.
  3. ^ a b "Heeramandi first look: Sanjay Leela Bhansali series starring Manisha, Sonakshi, Aditi will take you back to another era". Hindustan Times. 1 February 2024. Archived from the original on 1 February 2024. Retrieved 1 February 2024.
  4. ^ "Farida Jalal joins Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Heeramandi". The Times of India. 8 November 2022. Archived from the original on 26 March 2023. Retrieved 1 February 2024.
  5. ^ "Adhyayan Suman To Star In Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Heeramandi: "For Me He Is No Less Than God"". NDTV. 24 August 2023. Archived from the original on 28 November 2023. Retrieved 1 February 2024.
  6. ^ "Fardeen Khan to star in his first ever period drama Heeramandi by Sanjay Leela Bhansali". Bollywood Hungama. 23 July 2022. Archived from the original on 1 February 2024. Retrieved 1 February 2024.
  7. ^ "Shekhar Suman Reveals The Role Of Chunnilal In Devdas Was First Offered To Him". NDTV. 15 September 2023. Archived from the original on 1 February 2024. Retrieved 1 February 2024.
  8. ^ "India's Sanjay Leela Bhansali Sets Netflix Series 'Heeramandi'". Variety. 9 August 2021. Archived from the original on 23 August 2023. Retrieved 1 February 2024.
  9. ^ "Ted Sarandos On Netflix's Ambitions In India: "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet"". Deadline Hollywood. 18 February 2023. Archived from the original on 27 March 2023. Retrieved 1 February 2024.
  10. ^ "Heeramandi to be Wrapped up by end of the Month". Deadline Hollywood. 12 June 2023. Archived from the original on 1 February 2024. Retrieved 1 February 2024.
  11. ^ "Sanjay Leela Bhansali orders re-shoot of 'Heeramandi; risks delayed release of web series". The Times of India. 24 May 2023. Archived from the original on 30 May 2023. Retrieved 1 February 2024.
  12. ^ "Heeramandi finds a new Director; Vibhu Puri replaced with Mitakshara Kumar". Bollywood Hungama. 1 June 2022. Archived from the original on 31 July 2023. Retrieved 1 February 2024.
  13. ^ "Heeramandi is Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Biggest Project" Yet". Film Companion. 21 February 2023. Archived from the original on 1 February 2024. Retrieved 2 February 2024.
  14. ^ "Fashion Masterminds Rimple & Harpreet Narula Bring Alive SLB's Vision For Heeramandi". Elle India. 12 February 2023. Archived from the original on 16 February 2024. Retrieved 21 February 2024.
  15. ^ "Sanjay Leela Bhansali says he wanted to cast Mahira, Fawad Khan in 'Heeramandi'". The Asian Mirror. 2 May 2024. Archived from the original on 2 May 2024. Retrieved 2 May 2024.
  16. ^ "Heeramandi (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". Spotify. 29 April 2024. Archived from the original on 11 May 2024. Retrieved 29 April 2024.
  17. ^ "Sanjay Leela Bhansali Launches Music Label With 'Heeramandi' Soundtrack". Variety. 8 March 2024. Retrieved 12 March 2024.
  18. ^ "'Tilasmi Bahein': Sonakshi Sinha is femme fatale in 'Heeramandi's 2nd song". India Today. 3 April 2024. Archived from the original on 11 May 2024. Retrieved 5 April 2024.
  19. ^ "'Heeramandi' songs: Sanjay Leela Bhansali remade three iconic old songs for the series". Mirchi Plus. 30 April 2024. Archived from the original on 30 April 2024. Retrieved 6 May 2024.
  20. ^ "Heeramandi: First look of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's series to be revealed on THIS date". Filmfare. Archived from the original on 2024-02-01. Retrieved 2024-02-01.
  21. ^ "Bhansali's 'Heeramandi' to drop on Netflix on May 1". Rediff.com. 27 March 2024. Retrieved 27 March 2024.
  22. ^ a b "Netflix Global Top 10 - Most-Watched Non-English TV (29 April 2024 - 5 May 2024)". Netflix. 8 May 2024. Archived from the original on 8 May 2024. Retrieved 8 May 2024.
  23. ^ a b "Top 10 Week of Apr. 29: 'Baby Reindeer' Holds Strong; 'Heeramandi' Breaks Records; Katt Williams and Tom Brady Live Events Bring the Laughs". Netflix. 8 May 2024. Archived from the original on 11 May 2024. Retrieved 8 May 2024.
  24. ^ "Sanjay Leela Bhansali's debut web show Heeramandi becomes most-viewed Indian series on Netflix". Hindustan Times. 8 May 2024. Archived from the original on 8 May 2024. Retrieved 8 May 2024.
  25. ^ "Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 13 May 2024.
  26. ^ Mitra, Shilajit (1 May 2024). "'Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar' series review: Sanjay Leela Bhansali's dazzling soap opera". The Hindu. Retrieved 15 May 2024.
  27. ^ Roy, Dhaval (May 1, 2024). "Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar Season 1 Review : Dazzles with stellar performances and visual grandeur". The Times of India. Retrieved 15 May 2024.
  28. ^ "Manisha Koirala, Sonakshi Sinha's Heeramandi Review: Sanjay Leela Bhansali directorial series is intoxicatingly beautiful | Netflix". Firstpost. May 2024. Archived from the original on 2 May 2024. Retrieved 2 May 2024.
  29. ^ Chatterjee, Saibal (May 1, 2024). "Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar Review - There's More Than The Blindingly Sumptuous Means Sanjay Leela Bhansali Employs". NDTV. Archived from the original on 1 May 2024. Retrieved 1 May 2024.
  30. ^ "Heeramandi Review: Romance, Revenge, Rebellion". Rediff. 1 May 2024. Archived from the original on 3 May 2024. Retrieved 3 May 2024.
  31. ^ Gupta, Shubhra (1 May 2024). "Heeramandi review: Part history, part myth, full-on Sanjay Leela Bhansali". The Indian Express. Archived from the original on 2 May 2024. Retrieved 2 May 2024.
  32. ^ "The British reduced all tawaifs to sex workers – so has Sanjay Leela Bhansali in Heeramandi". 8 May 2024. Archived from the original on 2024-05-09. Retrieved 2024-05-09.

External links[edit]