Netflix’s Co-CEO Ted Sarandos, and Sanjay Leela Bhansali came together in Mumbai to exchange insights on the expanding world of Indian and global storytelling, how variety and diversity in stories were evolving audiences’ tastes and its impact on viewing habits worldwide. During the sit-down, the two discussed innovative formats, creative collaborations and the need to nurture creativity.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali says Heeramandi stayed with him for 14 years: ‘My effort is to bring these historic characters to life with a modern approach’
The pair indulged in their shared love for films and series, the global scale of their vision, and discussed their ambition to continue creating memorable entertainment that stays with people long after they’ve experienced it. They gave us a peek into their own all-time favourite stories and inspiration that guided their lives. The conversation on creativity ended with the exclusive and much-awaited glimpse of what’s to come from Bhansali’s first global drama series, Heeramandi. The exquisite look of key characters, played by the incredibly talented, all-star cast of Manisha Koirala, Sonakshi Sinha, Aditi Rao Hydari, Richa Chadha, Sharmin Segal, and Sanjeeda Sheikh was revealed.
In praise of Bhansali’s vision, Sarandos said, "Audiences want stories that help them escape and connect, and Sanjay is an exceptional storyteller who does both. Heeramandi, like all of Sanjay’s stories, is not style over substance but style and substance together. At Netflix, our responsibility to creators is to give them the tools to do their life’s work and empower them to bring their vision alive. We're thrilled to collaborate with a visionary like Sanjay and bring the world of Heeramandi to a global audience."
Sanjay Leela Bhansali 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.”
He added, “Be it Manisha’s character in Khamoshi, who looks after her differently-abled parents, Nandini in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, who has the courage to pursue her love and then make a choice, the character of Mastani in Bajirao Mastani or that of Rani in Black, for me the impact of a story increases manifold with a strong female character,” he said.
“A strong female character is the fulcrum of any project for me,” he said. “I won’t make Bajirao Mastani if there’s no Mastani”.
The series explores the cultural reality of Heeramandi, a dazzling district, through the stories of courtesans and their patrons set against the tumultuous backdrop of the Indian freedom struggle of the 1940s. A mix of love, betrayal, succession, and politics in the kothas (house of courtesans), Heeramandi promises Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s signature style of larger-than-life stories, intricate and soulful characters, and rippling dynamics of a world rife with conflict during a defining time period for India. Like all of the auteur’s creations, Heeramandi will have unique compositions and music that linger with the audience, just like his stories.
ALSO READ: Sanjay Leela Bhansali unveils teaser of Sonakshi Sinha, Manisha Koirala, Aditi Rao Hydari, Richa Chadha starrer Heeramandi, see video
More Pages: Heeramandi Box Office Collection
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