Sanjay Leela Bhansali reflects on success of 'Heeramandi'

SuchTV  |  May 23, 2024

Now, whilst on vacation after wrapping up the intense production process of the show, Bhansali reflects on the reception of what he believes is his magnum opus.

Having spent 350 shooting days across a wide span of three years, Bhansali is finally able to acknowledge the love his craft is receiving on a new platform. “‘Heeramandi’ was my first OTT [streaming] launch and I am blessed with all the love the audiences have given me, my technicians and my actors,” Bhansali told Variety. The coveted director with a keen eye for larger-than-life aesthetics thanked Netflix for "making the series available to audiences across 194 countries."

Reflecting on how different it is to work on an OTT project as opposed to a film, Bhansali remarked, "Unlike a film where immediate feedback comes in the form of box office numbers, it’s very different for a series. The anticipation was filled with excitement and a sense of responsibility, and it was interesting to see that what we were creating was going to be presented to a global audience.”

Terming the reactions "overwhelming and heartwarming," Bhansali continued, "What really stood out for me was that audiences have binge-watched ‘Heeramandi’ and even watched it twice or thrice over at a stretch. It was nice to see the kind of response we have received on social media and the kind of content people are creating around the show from different parts of the world."

It wouldn't be a Bhansali offering if the music didn't captivate and enchant, and this seems to hold true for Heeramandi as well. “The music of the series has struck a chord with audiences which is very rare for an OTT show," said the creative storyteller. "It’s also reassuring to see how people connected with the story, the life of these courtesans and the emotional journeys of the characters, regardless of their cultural background.”

Creatives often work and re-work a project to death, thinking it is never good enough to be put out in the world. Bhansali harbours no such regrets. “There is always a desire to refine and elevate your own work," he reflected. "But looking back at ‘Heeramandi,’ I am happy with what we have achieved,” Bhansali said. “I remember working on the post, editing and re-editing until the very last moment of delivery. But now, when I go back and watch it, I don’t think I would change a thing.”

When Bhansali returns from his holiday, the filmmaker is all set to return to the grand world of films. His next, 'Love & War' is set to star spouses Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt. Vicky Kaushal will join the duo, completing the power trio often seen in Bhansali's offerings. Talking about the same, Bhansali revealed, "It’s a love story that I’m making after a long time. A slightly contemporary work, different from the dances, pillars, architecture, drapes, curtains and jewellery [of 'Heeramandi']. It’s a new language, milieu and ambience for me."

He continued to state, “I needed [it] very much to excite me as a filmmaker to do something new, to speak of a different period, a different set of characters and new circumstances.”

It helps, of course, to have a seasoned cast of megastars, as is usually the case with Bhansali. Talking about the collaboration, Bhansali added, "It’s nice to work with this wonderful cast of Ranbir, Vicky and Alia. It’ll be nice to see how their chemistry works. And [it is] a triangular love story, which has not come in Hindi cinema for a long time. So let’s see how it all shapes up."

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