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Veteran Indian filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali is getting into business with Netflix. The streamer has signed a deal to produce the director’s long-term passion project Heeramandi, a sprawling, epic period series about the courtesans of Lahore in pre-independent, undivided India.
“It’s a series about love, betrayal, succession and politics in the kothas through three generations of tawaifs, which promises Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s trademark larger than life sets, multi-faceted characters and soulful compositions,” Netflix said in a statement.
One of Hindi cinema’s most successful filmmakers, Bhansali began his career 25 years ago with Khamoshi: The Musical (1996) and went on to direct Devdas (2002), which premiered at Cannes and was nominated for a BAFTA, as well as period drama Bajirao Mastani (2015) and Padmaavat (2018), two of the highest-grossing Indian films of all time.
“Heeramandi is an important milestone in my journey as a filmmaker,” Bhansali said in a statement. “It is an ambitious, grand and all encompassing series; therefore I am nervous and yet excited about making it. I am looking forward to my partnership with Netflix and bringing Heeramandi to audiences all over the world.”
Added Monika Shergill, vp of content for Netflix in India: “Sanjay Leela Bhansali has created a stunning brand of cinema which is uniquely his own, with emotionally charged storytelling, magnificent sets and unforgettable characters. We congratulate him on completing 25 phenomenal years and giving masterpieces for generations to cherish. We are beyond excited to bring his extraordinary creative vision to storytelling on Netflix. Heeramandi will be a story that will intrigue audiences and transport them into a world of incredible grandeur, beauty and harshness at the same time.”
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