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Sanjay Leela Bhansali: Sonakshi Sinha stands tall in that stature of stardom, like Vyjayanthimala and Sridevi” – Exclusive |



In an exclusive interview with ETimes, renowned filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali delved into the intricate process behind the casting process of his highly anticipated web series, ‘Heeramandi.’ Known for his meticulous attention to detail, he shared fascinating insights about the casting choices.
“When it comes to casting, destiny plays a crucial role.In my mind, if a role is meant for someone, it finds its way to them,” Bhansali began. Highlighting the pivotal role of Shruti, the casting director, he added, “Shruti is excellent. She selects actors thoughtfully, bringing a certain freshness to the project.”

He added, “Shruti worked through innumerable sessions to find the perfect fit. We evaluated everything—how their voices would sound, whether they could dance, and if they had that essential, alluring quality of a courtesan.”

In ‘Heeramandi’ Sonakshi Sinha plays one of the leading roles. Talking about her getting on board, Bhansali shared, “Sonakshi possesses immense star power, a strong personality, and a fiery intensity in her eyes, gait, and voice. She embodies the essence of 20th-century Bollywood Indian cinema.”
Drawing parallels with yesteryear actresses, he quoted, “She stands tall in that stature of stardom, like Vyjayanthimala and Sridevi. She has an exquisite charm. Also, Sonakshi has never played a courtesan before, which makes her role even more intriguing.”

He further shared his excitement about bringing in other notable talents, such as Aditi Rao Hydri, Sanjeeda Sheikh, and the legendary Farida Jalal. “We have also brought in Aditi, Sanjeeda, and Sharmin, among others. After her role in ‘Malaal,’ Sharmin is back with us. We also have the legendary Farida Jalal, who hasn’t been seen much in recent years, adding an element of excitement for the audience,” he explained.
Bhansali highlighted the importance of casting in bringing depth to the story, he mentioned, “Balancing the portrayal of courtesans, who endure so much suffering yet hide it behind jewels, songs, and luxury, was challenging. The story needed faces that conveyed this hidden quest for freedom and the underlying sadness. Every close-up, every distant gaze needed to capture this depth, and casting was crucial in achieving that.”

Bhansali expressed his confidence in the cast’s ability to bring his vision to life. “Despite the difficulties, I believe we have done well with our cast. Farida Ji, for example, brings a joyous lightness to the intense subject of a courtesan’s life. Their beauty also adds a layer of allure, making the intense subject more engaging,” concluded Sanjay.

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