Friday, June 07, 2024

Heeramandi : The Diamond Bazaar

When the perfectionist Sanjay Leela Bhansali (SLB) tries his hand at making a webseries, you are sort of compelled to watch it. Set in pre-independence era in Lahore, Heeramandi has everything SLB is known for: Careful narration of the story, huge extravagant sets, great shots, intricate details, powerful acting and more. I have read lot of discussion about this series and every member of the cast seems to have one thing in common to say: multiple takes of a shot to bring out the best.

The show introduces you to the characters one by one, beginning with Mallikajaan, played by Manisha Koirala. The cast is full of stars – other than Manisha Koirala, you have Sonakshi Sinha, Aditi Rao Hydari, Fardeen Khan, Shekhar Suman, Richa Chaddha to name a few. The first part of the story revolves around courtesans, or twaifs, who are not exactly prostitutes, but mistresses of nawabs of Lahore and also Englishmen. While you are immersed in appreciating their internal struggles for power, you are surprised to see one of them team up with freedom fighters. A parallel storyline develops around Alamzeb, daughter of Mallikajaan, who dreams of becoming a poetess instead of taking up the profession she is apparently destined to; and falls in love with Tajdar, son of a Nawab. Small steps of breach of trust for personal gain have heinous consequences. Later, the women leave aside their internal enmities and come together to fight for Indian independence.

You may come across some negativity regarding Sharmin Segal's acting, but I think she has done a good job. She is a young fresh face, which was required for the role. Critics have much to say about historical inaccuracies, acting skills of young actors, etc. But those are not points you have to focus on. Immerse yourself in the visual extravaganza, the intricate details, music and master storytelling. You will be missing something if you do not watch this well-made series.

Image courtesy: Google

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