Splendid Sets, Dull Story: A Review of Heeramandi

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Heeramandi debuted on Netflix amidst great anticipation, promising a captivating journey into the lives of courtesans in pre-independence India. Renowned for his lavish cinematic style, Bhansali’s latest creation was poised to merge breathtaking visuals with compelling storytelling.

The series began with a spectacular showcase of stunning set pieces, intricate costumes, and an outstanding cast prepared to deliver unforgettable performances. However, as the episodes progressed, the initial excitement started fading, revealing a production that impressed the eyes but failed to satisfy the soul.

This critique delves into the triumphs and tribulations of Heeramandi, dissecting its moments of brilliance alongside its narrative shortcomings.

A Promising Start

In its opening episodes, Heeramandi mesmerizes with its careful attention to detail in set design and costume creation. The series painted a vivid picture of pre-independence India, offering a visually stunning experience that suggested an intriguing narrative ahead.

Splendid Sets, Dull Story: A Review of Heeramandi

Complex Characters and Intricate Plotting

Initially, the series extensively explored the lives of its characters, delving into themes of betrayal, politics, and the personal struggles experienced by courtesans. The detailed storytelling captivated viewers, setting high expectations for subsequent character development.

Splendid Sets, Dull Story: A Review of Heeramandi

Visual Mastery

Heeramandi is a visual masterpiece that showcases director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s signature style. From the grand sets to the opulent costumes, every frame of the series is a treat for the eyes. The attention to detail in every aspect of the production is impressive, and it is evident that the team put a lot of effort into creating a world that is both realistic and captivating. The visual elements are as much a character in the story as the actors themselves, and they help to transport the viewer to a different time and place. Overall, the aesthetic elements of Heeramandi are a testament to the skill and creativity of the entire production team.

Splendid Sets, Dull Story: A Review of Heeramandi

Narrative Breakdown

Although the series began with a lot of potential, it ultimately fell short in terms of its narrative execution. Initially, the story was driven by the characters and their journeys, which captivated audiences. However, as the series progressed, the plot began to lose focus and meander without clear direction. Midway through the series, the plot seemed to take a detour, exploring themes such as patriotism that felt disconnected from the main narrative. This shift in focus left audiences feeling disengaged and unfulfilled, as they were unable to see how these themes were relevant to the overarching storyline.

The Shift to Patriotism

The sudden switch to patriotic themes was unexpected and didn’t match the previous episodes. This left the main storyline unresolved and caused disengagement.

Splendid Sets, Dull Story: A Review of Heeramandi

Performance Hits and Misses

While some actors deserve praise for their performances, others failed to deliver. Notably, the ensemble cast received mixed reviews, with some standout performances overshadowed by less compelling portrayals.

Splendid Sets, Dull Story: A Review of Heeramandi

The Choreography and Dance

It is easy to make comparisons between the dance sequences in Heeramandi and earlier Bhansali productions such as Devdas. However, it is noteworthy that the choreography in Heeramandi lacked the expected emotional depth and finesse that is a hallmark of Bhansali’s films.┬áThe dance sequences in any film are essential in conveying the story’s emotional message. However, in Heeramandi, the choreography seemed to be lacking in its ability to communicate the emotional depth of the narrative. This is in stark contrast to Bhansali’s earlier productions like Devdas, where the dance sequences were masterfully executed, with an emotional intensity that was both captivating and poignant.

Splendid Sets, Dull Story: A Review of Heeramandi

Disappointing Climax

The conclusion of the series left much to be desired. It felt hurried and ambiguous, leaving significant narrative threads unresolved. The majority of the viewers were left perplexed as crucial plot points remained dangling, lacking the closure they anticipated.

Splendid Sets, Dull Story: A Review of Heeramandi

Critique on Depth and Substance

Heeramandi can easily be termed as a classic case of style over substance. The beautiful exteriors did not compensate for the lack of depth in storytelling and character development, which was felt acutely across the series.

Final Verdict

Heeramandi could have been a narrative masterpiece matching its visual grandeur, but it faltered in execution. The series remains a beautiful yet ultimately unsatisfying experience, demonstrating that even the most stunning visuals cannot mask a poorly told story.


My name is Shozib Ali. I have done Bachelors in Media Sciences. Currently Working as an administrator and content writer for reviewit.