Heeramandi: A Historical Drama Series by Sanjay Leela Bhansali


Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar is a 2024 Indian period drama television series created and directed by the acclaimed filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali. This series delves into the lives of courtesans (tawaif) in the infamous red-light district of Heera Mandi in Lahore during the Indian independence movement against British colonial rule. The show boasts a stellar cast including Manisha Koirala, Sonakshi Sinha, Aditi Rao Hydari, Richa Chadha, Sanjeeda Sheikh, Sharmin Segal Mehta, and Taha Shah Badussha. The series premiered on Netflix on May 1, 2024, and consists of eight episodes.

Genre and Themes:

  • Genre: Historical Drama
  • Themes: The series explores themes of love, betrayal, politics, and the struggle for independence, set against the vibrant yet tumultuous backdrop of 1940s Lahore.

Creation and Production:

  • Creator and Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
  • Screenplay: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
  • Dialogues: Divya Nidhi and Vibhu Puri
  • Story by: Moin Baig
  • Cinematography: Sudeep Chatterjee, Mahesh Limaye, Huenstang Mohapatra, Ragul Dharuman
  • Music: Songs by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, background score by Benedict Taylor and Naren Chandavarkar
  • Production Company: Bhansali Productions
  • Budget: ₹200 crore

Cast and Characters:

Main Cast

  • Manisha Koirala as Mallikajaan: The chief courtesan of Shahi Mahal.
  • Sonakshi Sinha as Rehana and Fareedan: Rehana is the former chief courtesan, while Fareedan is her daughter.
  • Aditi Rao Hydari as Bibbojaan: Mallikajaan’s elder daughter.
  • Sharmin Segal as Alamzeb: Mallikajaan’s youngest daughter.
  • Sanjeeda Sheikh as Waheeda: Mallikajaan’s younger sister.
  • Richa Chadha as Lajwanti “Lajjo”: Mallikajaan’s foster daughter.
  • Taha Shah Badussha as Nawab Tajdar Baloch: An advocate and Alamzeb’s lover.

Recurring Cast

  • Farida Jalal as Qudsia Begum: Tajdar’s grandmother.
  • Adhyayan Suman as Zoravar Ali Khan/Imaad: Mallikajaan’s son and Lajjo’s patron.
  • Fardeen Khan as Wali Bin Zayed-Al Mohammed: Bibbojaan’s and Fareedan’s patron.
  • Shekhar Suman as Khan Bahadur Zulfikar Ahmed: Mallikajaan’s patron.
  • Indresh Malik as Ustaad: The eunuch pimp.


Set against the backdrop of the Indian independence movement in the 1940s, Heeramandi chronicles the lives of courtesans in the red-light district of Heera Mandi in Lahore. The series captures their personal and professional struggles, intertwined with the larger socio-political upheavals of the time.


  1. Mallikajaan: The Queen of Heeramandi
  2. Fareedanjaan: The Challenger Returns
  3. Waheedajaan: Scarred for Life
  4. Alamzeb: The Innocent Pawn
  5. Tajdar: The Lover’s Dilemma
  6. Tajdar & Alamzeb: Nation vs. Love
  7. Bibbojaan: Long Live the Revolution
  8. Heeramandi: The Swan Song

Production Details:

Heera Mandi was officially announced in April 2021. Filming began in June 2022 and concluded in June 2023 after reshoots. This series marks Bhansali’s debut in the streaming world. The series’ production involved intricate costume designs inspired by historical figures and extensive set designs to recreate the period accurately.


The soundtrack of Heeramandi features classical compositions by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The album, released on April 29, 2024, includes songs such as “Tilasmi Bahein,” “Sakal Ban,” and “Azadi,” which are integral to the narrative and are performed by the primary cast.

Release and Reception:


  • Heeramandi was the second most-watched non-English show on Netflix globally during its debut week, with 4.5 million views and 33 million viewership hours.

Critical Response

  • The series received mixed reviews, with a 45% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics praised the visual grandeur but had varied opinions on the narrative depth.

Key Reviews

  • Shilajit Mitra of The Hindu praised the series’ visual appeal.
  • Dhaval Roy of The Times of India highlighted the cinematic experience.
  • Lachmi Deb Roy of First commended Bhansali’s storytelling.


Heeramandi stands as a testament to Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ability to craft visually stunning and emotionally resonant narratives. Through its exploration of the lives of courtesans during a pivotal moment in Indian history, the series offers a unique blend of drama, romance, and historical intrigue. Whether you are a fan of period dramas or intrigued by stories of resilience and rebellion, Heeramandi is a must-watch.


Q. What is Heeramandi about?

A. Heeramandi is a historical drama that explores the lives of courtesans in the Heera Mandi district of Lahore during the 1940s, set against the backdrop of the Indian independence movement.

Q. Who created Heeramandi?

A. The series was created and directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, known for his grand cinematic style and historical narratives.

Q. Where can I watch Heeramandi?

A. Heeramandi is available for streaming on Netflix.

Q. How many episodes are in Heeramandi?

A. The series consists of eight episodes.

Q. Who are the main cast members of Heeramandi?

A. The main cast includes Manisha Koirala, Sonakshi Sinha, Aditi Rao Hydari, Richa Chadha, Sanjeeda Sheikh, Sharmin Segal Mehta, and Taha Shah Badussha.

Q. What is the budget of Heeramandi?

A.The series had a budget of ₹200 crore.

Q. When was Heeramandi released?

A. Heeramandi was released on May 1, 2024.

Q. What kind of music is featured in Heeramandi?

A. The series features classical compositions by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, with songs integral to the plot performed by the main cast.

Q. How was Heeramandi received by critics?

A. The series received mixed reviews, with praise for its visual splendor but mixed opinions on the storytelling and character development.

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