'It's Like A Pakistani Director Making Film On Mahabharata': When Pak Celebs SLAMMED Sanjay Leela Bhansali For Heeramandi

'It's Like A Pakistani Director Making Film On Mahabharata': When Pak Celebs SLAMMED Sanjay Leela Bhansali For Heeramandi

Bhansali's series will reveal the untold stories of Lahore's red light district, Heera Mandi

Sachin TUpdated: Wednesday, March 27, 2024, 04:48 PM IST
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Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar, starring Manisha Koirala, Sonakshi Sinha, Aditi Rao Hydari, Sanjeeda Sheikh, Richa Chadha and Sharmin Segal, is all set to release on an OTT platform soon. The show created quite a buzz ever since it was announced, especially because of its stellar star cast. Heeramandi was officially announced by the makers in 2021, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, back then, Bhansali and his project stirred a debate in Pakistan and several celebs there had stated that such stories should be narrated by Pakistani filmmakers.

Heeramandi is being presented and produced by the online streaming giant Netflix. The series will reveal the untold stories of Lahore's red light district, Heera Mandi.

When Pakistani celebs talked about Bhansali's Heeramandi

In 2021, soon after the web series was announced, Pakistani artistes raised questions over the lack of realisation in the Pakistani film industry that such stories should be narrated by the country's own filmmakers.

Pakistani actor Yasir Hussain had said, "Heera Mandi is here in Lahore and the movie on this is being made by Indians. And then we will be criticising how Indians show false narratives. God knows when we will talk about such issues, when we will tell our stories."

On the other hand, actress Hira Tareen had said, "We don't make movies on such issues because if we do, a fatwa will be issued and producers will lose their money. Do you really think PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Regulatory Authority) can tolerate a narration of the 'real' stories of Heera Mandi or any other such subject?"

Actress Mansha Pasha argued, "Inda is making a film on Lahore and the infamous Heera Mandi of the yesteryear because we live in a country where fictional narratives are often censored and everyone keeps arguing about what is or isn't morally acceptable fiction. Others name most of the opportunity taking up the stories that are native to our country, brand them and sell them to the rest of the world. In the end, what will be left will be our stories told from someone else's mouth."

Why did Pakistani celebs slam Bhansali?

Actress Ushna Shah, in September 2021, called out Bhansali for Heeramandi and had said that it is like a 'Pakistani director making a film about Mahabharata'.

Unhappy with the project, Ushna took to her official X (formerly known as Twitter) account and wrote, "Culture collaboration is one thing but this is appropriation. Mimicking ours will make the project lose authenticity! India has a plethora of rich culture & history to film, this isn’t theirs to make."

She added in a follow-up post, "Heera mandi was in Lahore, Lahore is in Pakistan. It’s relevance is to the Mughal empire on which Pakistani history is predominantly set. This would be like a Pakistani director making a film about Mahabharata."

About Heeramandi

Bhansali is all set to mark his web series debut with Heermamdi, which will show a world where courtesans were once queens.

The release date of the show has not been announced yet, however, the character posters of the lead actress of Heeramandi promise a visual odyssey and a tale of power, love and freedom set against the backdrop of pre-independent India.

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