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Heeramandi Review: Its Manisha Koirala, Sonakshi Sinha show; story of Love, tolerance, revenge by Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Netflix's latest web series, Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar takes a deeper look into human emotions like agony, revenge, and love. Based on the lives of Heeramandi women, this series has so much to offer. Scroll down to read the full review.

Sakshi Verma Updated on: May 01, 2024 19:29 IST
Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar
Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar is out now on NetflixPhoto:TAHA SHAH'S INSTAGRAM
  • Movie Name:Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar
  • Critics Rating: 3.5 / 5
  • Release Date: May 1, 2024
  • Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
  • Genre: Historical Drama

Sanjay Leela Bhansali's much-awaited web series Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar is finally out. The show features Sonakshi Sinha, Manisha Koirala, Aditi Rao Hydari, Sharmin Segal, Sanjeeda Sheikh, Richa Chadha, and Taha Shah Badussha in the lead roles. Whereas Fardeen Khan, Shekhar Suman, and Adhyayan Suman are seen in supporting roles. With such an ensemble cast, the filmmaker has made full use of them. But Heeramandi is clearly, Manisha Koirala and Sonakshi Sinha's show. The two actors have aced every scene. From every breath to frame they exude the elegance of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's muse.?

Being loosely based on Heeramandi, the bazaar, specifically known as the red light district of Lahore (now in Pakistan), the series showcases real-life incidents in a fictional manner. The filmmaker has showcased women's emotions and storms within with utmost ease. The eight-episode web series is not just another release. This one is here to stay and stir conversations!

Story

Heeramandi begins with Seesh Mahal being regulated under Rehana appa (Sonakshi Sinha), while young Mallikajaan (Manisha Koirala) is shattered to know that her elder sister sold her baby boy. Later the story unfolds and each character gets introduced. Despite having a huge star cast, SLB has given a sneak peek into each character's history. Probably that's why as an audience you don't judge any character, no matter what they do. It's because you know what each of them has suffered, or where they're headed to. The story slowly moves forward and one sees a younger sister killing her elder one and taking the hot spot.

With the power comes great responsibility, though Mallikajaan is fully competent to take on the plunge, but who does she have to pass on the baton? A mother of three struggling to have even a single capable one to hand over Heeramandi is another mess, while she struggling with her sister and her elder sister's daughter. In between all this is a huge Heeramandi filled with several Nawabs and their changing colours. And lastly, there's a freedom angle with the fight against Britishers. The eight-episode web series has so much to offer!?

Direction

The direction of Heeramandi is hard and heart-touching at the same time. The ace filmmaker has deep-dived into several emotions like betrayal, love, patriotism, dilemma, power, passion, and heartbreak. The Heeramandi set is huge and every frame speaks volumes about the hard work put in to make this series. The wide-angle shots are hard to miss. The dark colour vibe to the sudden rush of colours is a win-win situation for the viewers and the makers. However, the series looks dull in places. Some scenes feel stretched and at a point, one can feel that this eight-episode series could have been restricted to seven. The costumes of Heeramandi are too good and the actors have carried them with utmost elegance. However, Sharmin Segal is a disappointment. She neither carries the world in her eyes like others nor does she do justice to the costumes and choreography.?

Moreover, the expectations with filmmakers like Sanjay Leela Bhansali are huge. A hands-on director like him, who makes a 3 hours film look not-lengthy could not do the same with his OTT debut. Some scenes will stay with you but at the same time, SLB fails to captivate the audience throughout. Moreover, there's not much talk about the Britisher's invasions and taking over, there's just revolt. Richa Chaddha's angle could have also been explored a bit more. A series that talks about Heeramandi since the first go, doesn't tell you what happened to the place. The series gives no insight into the fate of the diamond bazaar and even who took over next. The ending seems pale as well.?

Acting?

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Just like the headline suggests, Sonakshi Sinha and Manisha Koirala have completely taken over the series. Their revenge to confrontation, everything seems real and passionate. Heeramandi is undoubtedly Sinha's best work. Aditi Rao Hydari is one of the best looking in Heeramandi and the actor has performed brilliantly as well. Her dialogue 'Najayaz aulaad nahi, unhe paida krne walle baap hote hain' makes the most sense in the show. Richa Chadha as Lajjo hits the right strings. So much so, that one would have wanted to see her more.?

As an audience, one feels the most for Waheeda. Sanjeeda Sheik's eyes talk about the betrayal her character faces. Easily one of the toughest parts of the web series is played by her. Supporting cast, Fardeen Khan, Shekhar Suman, and Adhyayan?Suman are bang on. It's good to see SLB bring back the forgotten gems in Heeramandi. However, the filmmaker made every Nawab look weak, espeically Fardeen Khan.?Indresh Malik as Ustad Ji is too good in the supporting role. But it has to be Taha Shah Badussha who totally wins over the viewer. From his dialogue delivery to voice modulation, everything is captivating. Moreover, seeing a Nawab fight for freedom while everyone is drunk in lust and friendship with Brits was good for a change. Not just serious ones but Taha's romantic scenes are also good to watch. However, if only he had a better partner to reciprocate those emotions.??

Sharmin Segal was clearly a bad choice for the role of Alam. The one who is said to be the successor but isn't worthy of it, couldn't pull it off. The one that had the most romantic part in the web series was unable to act wisely. From dancing to lip-syncing to songs and even emoting with eyes, Segal lacks the basic ability as an actor. She has to be the weakest cast of Heeramandi.?

Music

Sanjay Leela Bhansali's creations always have four things in common. Lavish sets, costumes to die for, strong women characters, and timeless music. However, Heeramandi does have the other three, but its music is not that great. The good songs of the series like Sakal Ban are in the initial episodes only and the later half can seem boring from the music aspect. Being based on the lives of courtesan, the songs during their performances also seem similar. Moreover, Heeramandi features 9 songs, but other than Tilasami Bahein, Azadi, and Sakal Ban, none of the others were captivating enough.?

Verdict

Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar has dents but it is easily one of the best web series of 2024 so far. The show gives a deeper look into womanhood and features some really strong characters. After Gangubai Kathiawadi, this is another attempt by the filmmaker to make one understand the life of a courtesan or a sex worker. SLB takes his audience beyond the dance and nightlife and also showcases a good game of throne. Heeramandi is a good watch and easily deserves 3.5 stars. After all, it is a Sanjay Leela Bhansali product.??

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