Sanjay Leela Bhansali is reportedly stepping in to direct the first episode of Netflix’s Heera Mandi. Initially, Bhansali’s protege Vibhu Puri was supposed to helm all the episodes of the opulent series while Bhansali was to serve as producer. But as per a report in Bollywood Hungama, the streaming giant suggested otherwise. A source close to the development said, “Heera Mandi is Bhansali’s dream project for 12 years now. The only reason he is not helming it officially is that he is busy with the post-production of his directorial project Gangubai Kathiawadi."
“There are seven episodes in Heera Mandi. Bhansali will now direct the first episode. The rest of the 6 episodes will be directed by Vibhu Puri while Bhansali will supervise the project," the source added.
In the past names of many actresses, including Madhuri Dixit, Sonakshi Sinha and Huma Qureshi, have come to the fore to feature in Heera Mandi. While earlier Huma was finalised to play the role of one of the sex workers in the magnum opus, Bollywood insiders recently revealed that Sonakshi too has been locked in for the role of one of the protagonists.
Heera Mandi, also known as Shahi Mohallah, is a red-light area in Pakistan’s Lahore. The upcoming web series will reportedly focus on the culture and the lives of the sex workers based in that area. Though the theme is much similar to Alia Bhatt’s upcoming movie Gangubai Kathiawadi, Bhansali’s project will have a different storyline.
Meanwhile, Bhansali and Alia recently wrapped the shooting of Gangubai Kathiawadi.