Updated May 18th, 2024 at 18:54 IST

Sanjay Leela Bhansali Reveals Why Courtesans Are Recurring Characters In His Movies

When asked about his fascination with telling these women’s stories on the big screen, the filmmaker said he finds them very interesting.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali on Heeramandi | Image:Instagram
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Sanjay Leela Bhansali is basking in the success of his debut series Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar. The series based on the life of courtesans has been receiving wide critical and commercial acclaim. The filmmaker has previously made Gangubai Kathiavadi, which also featured a prostitute as the main lead. Additionally, Madhuri Dixit portrayed the role of a courtesan in his 2002 film Devdas. When asked about his fascination with telling these women’s stories on the big screen, the filmmaker said he finds them very interesting. 

Sanjay Leela Bhansali says tawaifs fascinate him

In a conversation with Galatta Plus, SLB addressed the courtesan's recurring presence in his work. The filmmaker said, “I feel they are women who have a lot of enigma, a lot of mystery. The courtesan, or the tawaif, or the prostitute… they are different. But they always exude a certain kind of power which I find very interesting to look at… I found that very fascinating, that these women are very interesting. 

 

“Where they sing, they dance. Where they express themselves; their joy and their grief in music and dance. They understand the art of living, the importance of architecture, the use of fabric, and the kind of jewellery they wear. They are connoisseurs of art,” added Bhansali. 

He also mentioned how Madhubala from Mughal-E-Azam and Nargis Dutt from Adaalat influenced him. He added that Ritwik Ghatak's Meghe Dhaka Tara, in particular, and other V Shantaram movies had an impact on him.

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Madhubala and Dilip Kumar in Mughal-E-Azam 

 

What is Heeramandi about?

Billed as an epic saga of love, power, revenge and freedom, the series explores the cultural reality of Heeramandi, a dazzling district, through the stories of courtesans and their patrons set against the tumultuous backdrop of the Indian freedom struggle of the 1940s. The series is based on the concept by Moin Beg.

 

 

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Published May 18th, 2024 at 18:54 IST