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Sanjay Leela Bhansali: The courtesans of Heera Mandi must have also blessed this project – Exclusive |

In a candid interview with ETimes, acclaimed filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, delved into the intricate process behind his much-anticipated debut series, ‘Heeramandi.’ Renowned for his meticulous craftsmanship and grand storytelling, Sanjay shared the reasons behind the lengthy journey of bringing this project to life.
Bhansali revealed that the idea of ‘Heeramandi’ had been with him for over fourteen years.”We spent fourteen years thinking about it and living with it,” he said, emphasizing the deep connection he felt with the story. The project was not something that could be rushed. He explained, “I have always made films that stay with me for 8 to 10 years, nurturing them like you nurture yourself with a little water, a little care. They become ready on their own.”

The evolution of the narrative and format played a crucial role in determining the timing of ‘Heeramandi.’ Sanjay stated, “We’d put it off, saying we’d look at it later. Luckily, with the rise of this format (web series on OTT), my mind kept saying that maybe this is the right way to make ‘Heeramandi.’” The significant narrative required extensive storytelling, which could span “three and a half to five hours,” making the long-form series an ideal choice.

A pivotal moment in the making of ‘Heeramandi’ was the collaboration with the OTT player, which provided the necessary budget and scale. The filmmaker emphasized the importance of this partnership and said “When Netflix came in with the budget we had proposed and the scale we wanted if it hadn’t been made on that scale, ‘Heeramandi’ might not have been made.”

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Further, reflecting on the timing, Bhansali expressed his conviction that the present moment was ideal for the series. He said, “So, I think it was the right time to make ‘Heeramandi’. The courtesans of Heera Mandi who lived there in the past and are in the present must have also blessed this project, wanting to see their stories on the big screen.” This sense of destiny and blessing added a profound layer to the project, making it more than just a series but a tribute to the history and stories of the courtesans.
Last but not least, Sanjay Leela Bhansali is proud of the unique position ‘Heeramandi’ holds in cinematic history. “There hasn’t been any series or film made on Heera Mandi until now. So, overall, it’s a good thing that has happened, and I am happy we made it,” he concluded.

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