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Heeramandi: Is Sanjay Leela Bhansali creating a Mughal-e-Azam style experience on OTT?

Given the magnanimity of the Netflix original series, Heeramandi is likely to be released in a seasonal format

Heeramandi: Is Sanjay Leela Bhansali creating a Mughal-e-Azam style experience on OTT?

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Heeramandi’ is seen as a digital equivalent of ‘Mughal-e-Azam’

Last Updated: 07.01 AM, Apr 24, 2023


Celebrated filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s highly-anticipated television series, Heeramandi - Where Courtesans Were Queens, is expected to be one of Asia’s finest digital experiences so far. Releasing on Netflix later this year, the series - featuring Mark Bennington, Aditi Rao Hydari, Richa Chadha, Sonakshi Sinha, Manisha Koirala and Sanjeeda Sheikh in pivotal roles - is also touted to create an experience similar to that of K Asif’s epic historical drama Mughal-e-Azam, starring Madhubala and Dilip Kumar, in the digital space.

The Bhansali ‘magnum opus’ is set in pre-Independence India, while the plot is centred on a powerful group of courtesans. According to news reports, Heeramandi can be described as the digital equivalent of the 1960 film Mughal-e-Azam. “Every frame is a work of art. You can’t take your eyes off the screen for even a second. Binge-watching would be a crime. Taking in all that beauty at one go would be a task,” a source told ETimes

Thus, it is possible that the episodes of the upcoming ‘dazzling’ series will not be released all together. “Every episode will be like an individual film. To be devoured in leisure,” a member of the cast said. Instead, the streaming platform may turn Heeramandi into a “seasonal affair”, airing an eight-episode Season 1 in the second-half of 2023. Did you know, this project was initially meant to be a limited series? But those plans had to be shelved given the storyline and magnanimity of the series. 

Speaking about Heeramandi, the filmmaker had earlier said, “Heeramandi has a special place in my heart, as it has stayed with me for 14 years. The most compelling aspect of storytelling for me is the opportunity to represent real characters, especially women, and portray their emotions with interesting nuances. The women of Heeramandi are queens in their own right, and my effort with this story is to bring these historic characters to life with a modern approach. Netflix made this possible for us by nurturing and making an artist like me feel at home.”

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