What viewers like and dislike about SLB’s ‘Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar’ teaser

A lavish spectacle in the red-light district of Lahore, the first teaser of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s much-awaited OTT debut film Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar, was released on February 1. The teaser unveiled by streaming giant Netflix took us back in time—to the 1940s, to be precise—by offering a glimpse into the world of the courtesans of Lahore.

Viewers were both delighted and angry, with some saying that Pakistan should have made a film on Heeramandi. Others, however, were keen to follow Bhansali’s views on the region, its women, its politics, and its temptations. Attracted by the opulence of the larger-than-life sets, the staging, and the glamour, many sat at X and waited impatiently for the director to perform.

The good

The microblogging platform was full of budding fans who couldn’t suppress the visual genius of Bhansali, his bazaar disguise, and all his courtesans. “This looks amazing, oh my god!” one user commented. “This will be a new obsession; I know it. “It’s so beautiful and so colorful; I have no idea what’s going on, and I don’t care!” added another, almost shouting. “The West could never do that! OMG!  entertained a commentator.

One user, among many others, confessed that they had “never been so excited about a show.” Others were happy to see how much their favorite heroines glowed and sparkled. “I will demolish Sonakshi!”, one user wrote. “Omg Aditi Rao Hyderi, your beautiful eyes, you need to look at them now,” another agreed.

The bad

However, many felt that this heavy glorification could detract from history and what courtesans actually represented at the time. One user even called Bhansali’s show “romanticizing tawaifs”. There are also those who felt betrayed when Bollywood picked up stories around Lahore, Pakistan.

“Aaaah, another Bollywood movie with a Pakistani twist,” one user tweeted under the Netflix teaser. “Take Pakistan out of the picture and Bollywood will collapse!” joked another. “Without Pakistan, you Indians cannot do politics or make films. You hate Pakistan and are obsessed with it,” another commented.

“What an inaccurate portrayal of Bollywood. Even though historically it has always been so glamorous? In all the Mughal history I have read, the Tawaif were actually very well educated and cultured,” asked an X user. “SLB’s delusions of the tawaifs,” he added.

The needful

Although Bhansali never fails to surprise or disappoint, it is important for moviegoers that he does what is necessary: ​​does justice to the story and its viewing time. Against this backdrop, Heeramandi promises to explore the stories of courtesans and the hidden cultural realities of the region, a vibrant red-light district before the partition of the subcontinent. The project tells about love, betrayal, succession, and politics in kothas with multifaceted characters and moving compositions.

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The series stars Manisha Koirala, Sonakshi Sinha, Aditi Rao Hydari, Richa Chadha, Sharmin Segal, and Sanjeeda Sheikh in lead roles. In a recent statement, the makers described the series as “a mix of love, betrayal, succession, and politics in kothas (houses of courtesans).” They said, “Heeramandi promises Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s signature style of larger-than-life storytelling, complicated and emotional characters, and the growing dynamics of a world in conflict at a crucial time for India. Like all the author’s creations, Heeramandi will have unique compositions and music that, like his stories, will remain in the minds of the audience.

Last year, Bhansali said in a statement to ANI, “Heeramandi is a milestone in my journey as a filmmaker. This is an epic and unique series based on the courtesans of Lahore. It’s ambitious, grandiose, and.” “I’m a global series. So I’m nervous but also excited to do them. I look forward to working with Netflix and bringing Heeramandi to audiences around the world.

The official air date of the show is still awaited. However, the series is expected to appear on Netflix in 2024.