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HEERAMANDI (Netflix) - If only art/set/costume designing, lighting and camerawork is more important for you than the content. (Movies Notes by Bobby Sing)

07 May, 2024 | Movie Reviews / 2024 Releases / Just In

Sanjay Leela Bhansali has made multiple period dramas in recent years depicting different eras of the past. The decision to go for one period drama after another has eventually turned his cinema into a repetitive snooze fest, with a strong ‘seen before' vibe, offering nothing new in content, including his writing and direction.

That is why one never finds anything fresh or novel in his latest release, HEERAMANDI, which constantly generates the feeling of Deja-Vu from its first episode to the last, which is extremely difficult to watch in one go. While many would take days to complete the 8-part series, others would leave it in the middle as even the story doesn’t begin in the first four episodes, and later, it doesn’t make much sense till it prominently brings in the freedom movement towards the conclusion. In fact, I strongly felt that the freedom struggle and the role of Heeramandi’s courtesans in it should have been the basic theme of the series instead of a forced, artificial, and unimpressive depiction of Heeramandi and its women. 
The creation has an exciting cast ensemble and some notable performances, but I don’t think Bhansali would have given anyone the complete script to read before roping them in. As it seems, he would have narrated the best scenes to the respective artists, and listening to the narration; they would all have thought that this would surely be a class apart from the director making his debut on the small screen.
The class is undoubtedly there in a few sequences and dialogues here and there. Still, they are not enough to make you sit through 7 hours of lazy and unimpressive storytelling, heavily relying on the director’s reputation more than anything else. Besides, it’s incredible how Bhansali uses similar sets and costumes for his period dramas, irrespective of the eras they are based upon, whether it is about the Mughals, the Marathas, the 1920s, or the fictional world of Devdas. 
Taking it positively, it isn’t the case that Bhansali has taken onto the path of Ram Gopal Varma with HEERAMANDI. But if he doesn’t think of reinventing himself, taking a break from period dramas in particular, the path might not be as far away as it appears. It also stands true for his musical abilities, which are indeed there. Still, the presence of a master will certainly result in a few musical gems instead of just average to above-average songs in the soundtrack.
Overall, HEERAMANDI is elegant and grand, but how long can one go on selling similar grandeur, sets, costumes, colour pallets, shot divisions, camera movements, and good performances in the name of a film/series without any solid writing and content? The outcome also points towards NETFLIX's strange creative/business strategy of approving such a high-budget project, with almost nothing as content, selectively working with just 10-12 known production houses in India, disapproving of everyone else.
But most importantly, HEERAMANDI raises a pertinent question for the Hindi film audience, who largely watch and praise films, remaining in awe of the big stars, blindly accepting whatever is projected in the name of a period drama. Here, a project gets praised more because of the names associated with it than its content. That is also why many well-made smaller films and series go unnoticed, waiting for their deserving appreciation.
The same goes for many reputed critics and young bloggers, who remain over-cautious while writing about such biggies, avoiding straight criticism even when they haven’t liked the film or series. In my opinion, any writing, holding back your pen hanging on to the fragile bridges with the names, doesn’t serve any purpose. It neither creates any value in the eyes of the readers nor sufficient enough to get registered in the good books of the makers, as they very well know the truth.
In other words, if you are ready to believe that such was the lavish living, look, feel, stature, and spoken language of Lahore’s Heeramandi and its courtesans in the 1920s, without caring about its authenticity,……. then congratulations to Bhansali, as he has yet again successfully made fools out of his audience, wilfully enjoying the unreal, glossy creation just like the students of the WhatsApp university, religiously followed by millions in the present digital age.
Hence, if you are fine watching all these fake elements served along with pretty faces on the screen without any engaging and exciting content, then do watch HEERAMANDI at your own risk. However, this was one of those series I had to finish because it would not have been ethical to write without completing its eight episodes. 
HEERAMANDI also makes me wonder how Bhansali will depict the Hospitals if, in the future, he comes up with a love story blossoming within the premises of a high-end hospital. What lavish, hygienic and colourful hospitals he will design for shooting his musical sequences!
Rating: 2 / 5 - These two stars are also just for the pain and effort of the technical team behind the screen.


Tags : HEERAMANDI Netflix Series Reviews by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Bollywood Movies Series Reviews by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com
07 May 2024 / Comment ( 0 )
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