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Fardeen Khan on working with Sanjay Leela Bhansali in Heeramandi - 'It's almost like relationship between master craftsman and apprentice on some levels' | Exclusive

Navigating challenges, Fardeen Khan finds authenticity in portraying history in his Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Heeramandi experience.

Fardeen Khan on working with Sanjay Leela Bhansali in Heeramandi - 'It's almost like relationship between master craftsman and apprentice on some levels' | Exclusive
Fardeen Khan/Instagram

Last Updated: 04.44 PM, Apr 25, 2024


Fardeen Khan has garnered significant attention since his first look in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Netflix series, Heeramandi. The actor returns to the screen after nearly 15 years, and this time in a character that he has never portrayed before. In the series, the actor portrays Wali Mohammed, a Nawab, opposite Aditi Rao Hydari. In an exclusive interview with OTTplay, Fardeen discussed his involvement in Bhansali's world in a long format.

Fardeen Khan on working with Sanjay Leela Bhansali

The actor told us exclusively, "Every actor's dream is to work with a director of his calibre, and he's written and presented some of the most memorable characters on screen that will be remembered for generations. So, nothing can really prepare you for entering the world. He's a true master of his craft, and you just surrender to his process and his creativity. It's a true privilege, and it's a great learning experience. It's almost like the relationship between a master craftsman and an apprentice on some levels."

Further, Fardeen noted the freedom afforded by the long format of the series, allowing Bhansali to delve deeper into character development and storytelling without the constraints of traditional theatrical releases. He said, "Especially to be a part of a vision like this—I mean, this is his step into the international arena—also through a platform like Netflix, which in so many ways has revolutionised the way films are written and the way content is conceived. Of course, it's going to be such a treat for the audiences and, of course, all the actors, to actually see an eight-hour Sanjay Leela Bhansali saga. Just being in the long format has given him that much more freedom to flesh out his characters and tell his story without the constraints of two or three hours, a typical theatrical release."

First day on set: Awe and challenge

The actor described his first day on set, saying, "So, it was fascinating for me; of course, we've been fans of his movies, but fascinating for me to be a part of the way he envisioned this series, and nothing can prepare you for going on to his set on the first day. You're literally in awe of the sets, the scale and scope, and his vision, and then, with the talent that you're working with, you have to really pull your socks up and rise to the occasion, take on the challenge, and be ready for the adventure."

Fardeen acknowledged the challenges of portraying a character from a different time period. He shared, "Obviously, I had an idea and heard about Heeramandi, but it's challenging for any actor to portray a character from a different time period. But I think achieving the look of the character is obviously half the battle, especially when you're playing a Nawab. They always have a certain status, and they're very invested in how they project themselves. So, looking at the part is obviously very important, but as it is in any character in any film, any genre, and any time period, you find the essence of the character, and that is the most important thing; you find his humanity, and that's the most important thing, something that you connect to, latch onto, and hold on to, because obviously, you have not lived in that time period."

Keeping it real and human

He concluded by saying, "You just have to find what makes them human, what gives their life meaning and purpose, what their weaknesses are, and what their fears are. When you get a sense of that, you would play as you would any character or any other human being within the constraints of the time. Of course, you would take on the mannerisms and so forth of that time period, and you would just keep it real, keep it simple, and have fun with it."

Heeramandi premieres on May 1, 2024, on Netflix.

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