Legendary Indian Filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali Sets TV Series ‘Heeramandi’ at Netflix

The filmmaker called his upcoming series "the biggest project that I've made."
Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Getty Images

Hot off the international success of S.S. Rajamouli’s “RRR,” Netflix is continuing to ramp up its investment in Indian film and television content. The streaming giant is plotting another collaboration with one of India’s biggest directors, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who is making his television debut on the upcoming Netflix series “Heeramandi.”

The series, which is currently in post-production, will follow an ensemble of courtesans and their patrons in India in the late 1940s, the final years of the nation’s struggle for independence from Great Britain.

“Heeramandi” is set to star Manisha Koirala, Sonakshi Sinha, Aditi Rao Hydari, Richa Chadha, Sharmin Segal, and Sanjeeda Sheikh, with Bhansali directing and serving as a producer. Internationally, Bhansali is best known for his films “Devdas,” “Black” and “Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela.”

The news was announced Friday night at an event billed as a fireside chat in India between Bhansali and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos.

“Audiences want stories that help them escape and connect, and Sanjay is an exceptional storyteller who does both,” Sarandos said. “‘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.’

“’Heeramandi’ has a special place in my heart as it has stayed with me for 14 years,” Bhansali said. “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.”

Bhansali went on to say that fans of his maximalist style will have plenty to look forward to when the series hits Netflix.

“‘Heeramandi’ is the biggest project that I’ve made, it’s so huge in scale,” he said. “I had to do something special … to make [Sarandos] proud.”

Netflix has yet to announce a release date for “Heermanji.” You can watch a teaser for the series below.

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