Netflix has released a teaser trailer of the upcoming Bollywood webseries ‘Heera Mandi: the Diamond Bazaar’ which is set to revolve around the lives of prostitutes living in pre-partition Lahore. The series is created by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who has been working on it for the past 14 years. The web series will star Bollywood celebrities like Manisha Koirala, Sonakshi Sinha, Aditi Rao Hydari, Sharmin Segal, Richa Chadha, and Sanjeeda Sheikh.
The premise of the upcoming web series will focus on a young heir who chooses love over succession and is caught in the crossfire of the independence struggle for independence from the British.
When the web series was announced in 2021, several Pakistani actresses expressed their criticism over Bollywood telling Pakistani stories, and criticised Sanjay for not including Pakistani voices when speaking on a story that came from Lahore. Actress Ushna Shah wrote on X (formerly Twitter):
“Culture collaboration is one thing but this is appropriation. Mimicking ours will make the project lose authenticity! India has a plethora of rich culture & history to film, this isn’t theirs to make!”
Culture collaboration is one thing but this is appropriation. Mimicking ours will make the project lose authenticity! India has a plethora of rich culture & history to film, this isn’t theirs to make!
Sanjay Leela Bhansali Sets Netflix Series ‘Heeramandi’ https://t.co/QXRNjwBUtU
— Ushna Shah (@ushnashah) September 27, 2021
Actor and comedian Yasir Hussain expressed his dissapointment in Pakistani filmmakers not making films about their own historical places, and Bollywood directors taking up the mantle.
“Heeramandi is in Lahore but Indians are making on it. Later, we’re going to say that everything they showed in it is false. I don’t know when we will start talking about our historical places and when we will start telling our stories ourselves.”