Sanjay Leela Bhansali Opens Up On Almost Losing Out 'Heeramandi' Script To David Dhawan

Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Heeramandi' has become the most-viewed web series on Netflix. However, the filmmaker almost lost the script for his most significant project.


By Saakshi Gupta Last Updated:


Sanjay Leela Bhansali Opens Up On Almost Losing Out 'Heeramandi' Script To David Dhawan

Heeramandi is Sanjay Leela Bhansali's biggest undertaking as a director. The filmmaker, known for making grand spectacles, took two years to complete this eight-episode web series. Since its release on May 1, 2024, Heeramandi has taken centre stage for discussion in Bollywood. In a recent interview with ETimes, the talented filmmaker shared how he had nearly lost the chance to work on this project.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali shared that Heeramandi's writer was ‘frustrated’ with his delay

Sanjay Leela Bhansali is known for creating grand and visual splendor on-screen for audiences. He recalled that actor, Aditya Pancholi, had brought Heeramandi writer, Moin Beg to him. He further claimed that only the Bajirao Mastani director could do justice to that particular script. However, at that time, he had just completed his film, Devdas. So, he moved ahead with another project, delaying Heeramandi and frustrating Moin Beg. Recalling the incident where the writer would call him asking for the delay, Bhansali shared:

"He said, ‘You are not making Heeramandi? Now, you've started another film. Now, you've started Ram-Leela (2013)! Now, you've started Bajirao Mastani (2015)! And now, you've started Padmaavat (2018)!’ Moin even threatened to take the script away and give it to David Dhawan.’

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Sanjay Leela Bhansali shared that making Heeramandi was 'demanding'

Sanjay Leela Bhansali first got the script for Heeramandi almost 20 years ago. He had dreamt about it for nearly two decades, bringing it to life. The star filmmaker, undergoes thorough research for all his project to ensure perfection. So, he had to double his efforts for this project. He was quoted saying:

"I've made ten films in 30 years. In the last few years, I've made 3 films, and now make 8 episodes feels like, 'What have you put me through?' Making a show like Heeramandi is so demanding, it is so difficult. You have to be so alert because there are so many tracks.”


Bhansali is glad over the discussions around his new web series

The Filmfare award-winning director shared that the script for Heeramandi would surface after every couple of years. Given its nature and storyline, he knew it would take at least 3-4 hours of run-time. Simultaneously, the popularity and possibilities of the OTT platform served him with the right combination. Netflix’s CEO gave the go-ahead for the project, and Bhansali took it up. Also, the meeting for discussion was held in Los Angeles before the release of Gangubai Kathiawadi. Sharing this vision for it, Sanjay Leela Bhansali said:

“The script would come out every 2-3 years. But I always said to myself that this is very big. It needs a lot of time – 3,4 or 5 hours. Luckily, when this format started opening up and becoming popular, I thought maybe this was the right place to make Heeramandi. I’m glad there’s a lot of discussion among people, irrespective of where they’re watching Heeramandi. They’re asking each other if there’s a big screen at their home.”

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Sanjay Leela Bhansali's work front

Sanjay Leela Bhansali is riding high on the success of Heeramandi that features Manisha Koirala, Sonakshi Sinha, Aditi Rao Hydari, Richa Chadha, Sanjeeda Sheikh, Sharmin Segal Mehta, and Taha Shah Badussha. Next, the filmmaker is working on his next project, Love and War, starring Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, and Vicky Kaushal in lead roles.

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What are your views on Sanjay Leela Bhansali' revelations about the making of Heeramandi?

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