Calls the series ‘ambitious and vast’
Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Bollywood filmmaker known for directing big-budget films such Devdas and Padmaavat, has opened up on his upcoming project on Lahore’s red-light district Heera Mandi.
“Heeramandi was something that my friend Moin Baig got to me as a 14-page story 14 years ago,” Bhansali said in an exclusive interview with Netflix. “And then finally, when we presented it to Netflix they loved it. They thought it had a great potential to make a mega-series.”
The filmmaker has been working on the project for a long time. Reports first started circulating in January that the story had entered production and several big names, including Aishwariya Rai and Alia Bhatt, were rumoured to play the lead in the series.
“It’s very ambitious, it’s big, it’s very vast,” Bhansali said. “It tells the story of the courtesans, pre-Independence. They kept music and poetry and dance and the art of living. The politics within the kothas and how to emerge as the winners.”
Heeramandi started a debate on censorship in Pakistani entertainment industry. Mansha Pasha had remarked that the stories from Pakistan were being told “through someone else’s mouth”.
Bhansali has admitted the magnitude of the project can be a challenge.
“It’s a difficult one, but I hope we come across with flying colours this time.”
A poster for the series was released on August 10 with the tagline “Where courtesans were queens.”