Pakistani Writer’s Take on Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Heeramandi’: ‘If You Call it Lahore, Show Lahore’

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Netflix debut, Heeramandi, has sparked diverse reactions among viewers since its release on May 1. While some praised the series for its stunning sets and costume design, others criticized its portrayal of the historical period.

One such viewer from Pakistan, using the username Hamd Nawaz on X (formerly Twitter), expressed disappointment with the series. In a lengthy thread, Nawaz criticized the makers for inaccuracies in depicting events, locations, and costumes, arguing that it failed to authentically represent 1940s Lahore.

Nawaz began her critique by questioning the setting’s authenticity, noting discrepancies in landscape and language. She highlighted the absence of familiar landmarks and criticized the portrayal of Heera Mandi, stating that it did not accurately reflect its historical reality.

Furthermore, Nawaz pointed out inconsistencies in the depiction of Heera Mandi itself, noting that the series misrepresented its architecture and socio-economic structure. She emphasized that the area was not a glamorous street but rather characterized by exploitation, slavery, and poverty.

Nawaz also criticized the performance of a particular actor, Sharmin Segal, as Alamzeb, labeling her as a “nepo-baby” with a stiff demeanor and lackluster Urdu delivery.

Vivek Agnihotri, a filmmaker known for works like The Kashmir Files and Buddha in a Traffic Jam, weighed in on Heeramandi, echoing Nawaz’s sentiments about the romanticization of courtesans and brothels in Bollywood. Agnihotri questioned whether filmmakers should be allowed to glamorize human suffering and misrepresent slum life.

Overall, the discussions around Heeramandi highlight broader questions about the responsibility of filmmakers to portray historical and societal realities accurately and sensitively.

About Seema Vishwas

An anchor with CNBC TV18 for almost 4 years. Also co-anchors prime-time market shows like Power Breakfast, Traders only, Markets Mid-day and NSE Closing Bell.

View all posts by Seema Vishwas →