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Sanjay Leela Bhansali Mumtaz Shabana Azmi Heeramandi
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Shabana Azmi and Mumtaz no longer part of Bhansali’s ‘Heeramandi’ project

Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the meticulous mastermind that he is, chose a different path rather than simply finding replacements for the revered actresses Shabana Azmi and Mumtaz in his upcoming project Heeramandi. Though the roles they were originally intended for were brief, they were nonetheless significant, and were specifically crafted with the two icons in mind. However, when it became clear that the actresses would not be able to take part in the project, Bhansali made the bold decision to discard the roles entirely, rather than compromising his vision by casting anyone else in their place.

The dazzling cast of Heeramandi, including Sonakshi Sinha, Richa Chadha, Aditi Rao Hydari, Huma Qureshi and Manisha Koirala, are bringing their talents to a grandiose kotha, or brothel, brought to life on massive sets. While the filming process is taking longer than anticipated, with some scenes requiring three days instead of the intended one, sources say that Netflix is unwavering in their support of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s vision. There are no restrictions on the budget, as the streaming giant recognizes the undeniable “Bhansali magic” and is eagerly anticipating the potential for Heeramandi to be a game-changer in the Indian entertainment industry.

What we know about ‘Heeramandi’

As the highly anticipated web series ‘Heeramandi’ approaches, some tantalizing details have been revealed. The show will feature two sprawling sets, one of which will be a meticulously crafted brothel for an unforgettable song sequence. The story, written by Moin Beg and brought to life by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, was initially presented to the acclaimed director over a decade ago in the form of a 14-page period drama. Set against the backdrop of Heera Mandi, a dazzling district of pre-independent India, the series will explore the hidden cultural reality of courtesans through tales of love, betrayal, succession, and politics within the kothas. Fans can expect larger-than-life sets, multi-faceted characters, and soulful compositions, all of which are quintessential Bhansali trademarks.

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