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Have seen Bhansali grow as maestro: Manisha on ‘Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar’

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Mumbai, Feb 29 (PTI) It was great to reunite with Sanjay Leela Bhansali after a gap of 25 years, actor Manisha Koirala said on Thursday as Netflix India unveiled the character posters of the filmmaker’s ambitious web series ”Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar”.

Bhansali, known for lavishly mounted feature films such as ”Ram-Leela”, ”Bajirao Mastani” and ”Padmaavat”, is set to make his long-format debut with Netflix’s ”Heermandi”. Koirala, who plays Mallikajaan in the upcoming eight-part period drama set during the freedom struggle movement in India, worked with Bhansali in his feature directorial debut ”Khamoshi: The Musical” (1996).

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At the Next on Netflix India event, the actor said ”Heeramandi” has turned out well and the team is ”dying to show it” to fans.

“We all have tried to do our best because we were working with a master. To be working with Sanjay 25 years after his first film, ‘Khamoshi’, it can’t get better than ‘Heeramandi’. ”It’s been a humongous journey, I’ve seen him grow as an artist, as a maestro, as a genius, he is India’s best, he is the greatest filmmaker in India. We are lucky to be working, sweating and trying to perfect our act,” Koirala said at the event.

Billed as a visual odyssey, ”Heeramandi” brings together a powerhouse of talent and a magnificent world promising to immerse audiences in a tale of power, love and freedom set against the backdrop of pre-independent India.

”Heeramandi” also stars Sonakshi Sinha, Richa Chadha, Sharmin Segal, Aditi Rao Hydari, and Sanjeeda Shaikh.

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Chadha said anyone can create beautiful costumes but only Bhansali can make an actor take eight rounds, sit and aesthetically drop a tear from the left of one’s eye while wearing a lehenga worth 30 kg. The actor, who previously worked with in the 2013 film ”Ram-Leela”, plays Lajjo in ”Heeramandi”.

“An actor is hungry to grow, and he will push you. I met Rani Mukerji the other day and (she) said ‘Till you work with Sanjay Leela Bhasali, you don’t know your own potential,” she said.

The makers of ”Heeramandi” also released the character posters of Hydari as Bibbojaan, Shaikh as Waheeda, Sinha as Fareedan and Segal as Alamzeb. Bhansali was not present at the event.

Working with Bhansali has been a wonderful dream, said Hydari. They earlier collaborated on 2018’s ”Padmaavat”.

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”When we shoot a film, we get a certain amount of time to be with a director. When you shoot a show, you get that much more time. Some look at the look, beauty, but what I find incredible about the experience is the fact his soul goes into everything he does.

”He eats, lives, and breathes his characters. There’s so much passion. I’m grateful that the challenges that he throws at you, there’s so much love, and pride, pushing you to do your best. I’m grateful for that experience and I hope I get it multiple times. I love him,” she added.

Shaikh said she is honoured to work with Bhansali on ”Heeramandi”.

”I also had a dream (to work with Bhansali) and it has come true today. Everyone wants to work with Sanjay Leela Bhansali. It’s a big deal for me to be one of his leading ladies,” she said.

Segal, also Bhansali’s niece, said as an artist, it’s a privilege to work with the director.
”Working with Sanjay sir on a series is a different ball game as an actor. It’s not just one movie, (working on a series) it’s like doing eight films. I’ve assisted sir on ‘Bajirao Mastani’, which was a movie, and watching him adapt to the format of the series, was a privilege.” Sinha said she loved collaborating with Manisha and she learned a lot from the actor.

”Manisha is such a wonderful person. The body of work that she has behind her, the work that she has done and the films of hers that we have seen. She is so respected, stunning, beautiful, elegant, just wow.

”But keeping that aside, when I worked with her, I realised, she is a beautiful person, just the way she conducts herself on set. Watching her and being with her in the same frame was such a pleasure. I hope I can do it soon. It was an honour working with her,” she said.

Prerna Singh, CEO Bhansali Productions, said they have a great show in their hands.

“Working with Sanjay sir is life altering… I can’t even describe it… What I find incredible is that his soul goes into everything he does. He lives and breathes it… In the pushing and challenges he throws at you, there is so much trying…. I love it,” Singh added.

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