Vivek Agnihotri slams Heeramandi: Glamorising human pain

Seema Rai
Seema Rai

Vivek Agnihotri, widely known for his films The Kashmir Files and The Vaccine War, among others, recently used his X account to criticize the newly launched Netflix series Heeramandi. The filmmaker, who acknowledged not having seen the series yet, took aim at Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Bollywood. He accused them of glamorizing human pain.

What has Vivek Agnihotri said about Heeramandi?

On May 4, the filmmaker tweeted a quote from an X user’s post. The user criticized the series for not accurately portraying pre-independence Lahore in terms of clothes, accent, and Urdu.

Vivek Agnihotri commented on the post, saying, “I haven’t seen the show, but I went to Heeramandi in Lahore a few times.” Adding, “Bollywood has a tendency to romanticize courtesans and brothels. It’s a terrible commentary because brothels have never been places of luxury, grandeur, or beauty. These are memorials to human injustice, sorrow, and suffering.”

Vivek Agnihotri argues whether creativity allows for the glamorization of human pain.

In the same article, the filmmaker posed a question, asking whether it was OK to glorify human misery in the name of creative freedom. He wrote, “Also, a question we must ask: Does creativity allow us to glorify human suffering?” Is it acceptable to make a film in which slum life is portrayed as one of abundance? Is it acceptable to show slum residents dressed as if they were attending an Ambani wedding? Please discuss.

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What do we know about Heeramandi?

Heeramandi had been in the works for over 16 years, according to Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who made his web series debut with the show. The eight-episode period drama series began streaming on Netflix on May 1. It stars Manisha Koirala, Sonakshi Sinha, Aditi Rao Hydari, Sharmin Segal, and Sanjida Sheikh, among others. Although praised for its visual appeal, the series has been criticized for its accuracy and lack of investigation.

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