10 Shows Like Heeramandi You Must See

Step into the opulent yet enigmatic world of ‘Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar,’ a spellbinding Indian period drama crafted by the visionary Sanjay Leela Bhansali. This evocative series invites viewers to delve deep into the lives of tawaifs—courtesans—whose stories intertwine amidst the vibrant backdrop of Heera Mandi, Lahore’s renowned red-light district.

Led by a stellar ensemble cast including Manisha Koirala, Sonakshi Sinha, and Richa Chadha, the show offers a mesmerizing glimpse into a tumultuous era—the 1940s Indian independence movement against British rule. Under the directorial reins of Bhansali and Mitakshara Kumar, ‘Heeramandi’ develops as a mosaic of love, longing, and rebellion, capturing the essence of a bygone era with unparalleled finesse. If you’re eager for more narratives that place the complexities of femininity in the spotlight, explore these 10 shows similar to ‘Heeramandi.’

10. The Tudors (2007-2010)

Created by Michael Hirst, ‘The Tudors’ is a riveting historical drama that chronicles the tumultuous reign of King Henry VIII of England. With Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the lead role, the series floats on the waters of political intrigue, religious conflicts, and personal dramas of the Tudor dynasty during the 16th century. Its ensemble cast includes notable actors such as the Game of Thrones fame Natalie Dormer and the British heartthrob/Superman/Geralt of Rivia, Henry Cavill. Just as ‘Heeramandi’ sheds light on the lives of courtesans in historical Lahore, ‘The Tudors’ offers a glimpse into the power dynamics and intrigues of the royal court, drawing parallels in its exploration of ambition, desire, and societal norms.

9. Bridgerton (2020-)

In the dazzling world of ‘Bridgerton,’ created by Chris Van Dusen, viewers are transported to Regency-era London, where scandal, romance, and societal expectations collide. Adapted from Julia Quinn’s novels, the series follows the esteemed Bridgerton family and their entanglements with the enigmatic Lady Whistledown. Led by Phoebe Dynevor and Rege-Jean Page, the talented cast brings to life a vibrant tapestry of love, betrayal, and ambition. The show strikes the same chord as ‘Heeramandi’ through its lavish portrayal of Regency-era London, a world wrapped in grandeur but stinking with scandal.

8. The Handmaid’s Tale (2017-)

Both ‘The Handmaid’s Tale‘ and ‘Heeramandi’ share a profound exploration of female oppression and resilience within oppressive systems. While ‘Heeramandi’ sheds light on the lives of courtesans navigating societal constraints in historical Lahore, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ offers a dystopian portrayal of women stripped of their autonomy in the totalitarian society of Gilead. Both shows confront themes of patriarchal control, gender-based violence, and the quest for liberation in the face of oppressive regimes. Developed by Bruce Miller and based on Margaret Atwood’s novel, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ features an exceptional cast led by Elisabeth Moss as Offred, alongside Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, and Alexis Bledel, embodying Atwood’s articulation of resistance and survival in a world ruled by misogyny and tyranny.

7. Reign (2013-2017)

In both ‘Reign’ and ‘Heeramandi,’ viewers are transported to worlds where power dynamics and societal expectations shape the lives of women in profound ways. Both series tap into themes of love, betrayal, and female agency amidst the intricacies of court politics and societal pressures. Developed by Laurie McCarthy and Stephanie Sengupta, ‘Reign’ features a talented ensemble cast led by Adelaide Kane as Mary, Queen of Scots, alongside Megan Follows, Torrance Coombs, and Toby Regbo, offering a sweet and sour blend of romance, drama, and historical intrigue.

6. Gentleman Jack (2019-2022)

In ‘Gentleman Jack’ and ‘Heeramandi,’ audiences are invited into worlds where unconventional women challenge societal norms and carve out their own paths to empowerment. While ‘Heeramandi’ illuminates the lives of courtesans, ‘Gentleman Jack’ follows the indomitable Anne Lister as she defies gender expectations in 19th century England. Both series explore themes of identity, desire, and resilience in the face of societal constraints. Created by Sally Wainwright, ‘Gentleman Jack’ stars Suranne Jones as Anne Lister, a pioneering figure known for her intelligence, wit, and unapologetic pursuit of love and independence, offering a refreshing portrayal of female strength and agency.

5. Versailles (2015–2018)

‘Versailles’ and ‘Heeramandi’ both whisk viewers away to rich historical landscapes, where opulence and intrigue mingle with personal narratives. These series look into the complexities of courtly existence, weaving together the threads of personal ambition and political maneuvering amid sumptuous settings. Created by Simon Mirren and David Wolstencroft, ‘Versailles’ features a stellar ensemble cast, including George Blagden as King Louis XIV, Alexander Vlahos as Philippe, Duke of Orléans, and Anna Brewster as Madame de Montespan, creating a tale of power, ambition, and betrayal amidst the splendor of the French court.

4. Dangerous Liaisons (2022)

In ‘Dangerous Liaisons,’ a period drama series inspired by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’s novel, viewers are transported to a world of seduction and manipulation reminiscent of ‘Heeramandi.’ Created by Harriet Warner, the plot revolves around scheming ex-lovers who wield the power of seduction to manipulate others. Nicholas Denton portrays Pascal Valmont, while Alice Englert takes on the role of Camille, among other cast members. Just like ‘Heeramandi,’ ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ immerses audiences in a web of intrigue and desire, where personal agendas clash against a backdrop of lavish settings and courtly politics.

3. Bombay Begums (2021)

Bombay Begums‘ and ‘Heeramandi’ share a common thread in their exploration of female experiences within rigid societal structures. While ‘Heeramandi’ is about the lives of courtesans in Lahore, ‘Bombay Begums’ offers a contemporary lens on the struggles and triumphs of women in modern-day Mumbai. Both series closely examine themes of gender, power, and identity, showcasing the resilience and agency of female characters amidst patriarchal constraints. Created by Alankrita Shrivastava, ‘Bombay Begums’ follows the intersecting stories of five women from different backgrounds as they navigate ambition, love, and ambition in the bustling metropolis of Mumbai. The ensemble cast includes Pooja Bhatt, Shahana Goswami, Amruta Subhash, Plabita Borthakur, and Aadhya Anand, portraying a diverse range of characters whose lives intersect in unexpected ways, echoing the intricate narratives of ‘Heeramandi.’

2. The White Queen (2013)

In both ‘The White Queen’ and ‘Heeramandi,’ viewers are transported to worlds where power struggles and personal intrigues shape the lives of women. While ‘Heeramandi’ does that with respect to life in historical Lahore, ‘The White Queen’ offers a glimpse into the tumultuous Wars of the Roses period in England. Both series jump into the conundrums of female agency within patriarchal societies, portraying strong female characters who tread through treacherous political landscapes. Created by Emma Frost, ‘The White Queen’ is based on Philippa Gregory’s historical novels and features an ensemble cast including Rebecca Ferguson, Max Irons, and Amanda Hale, offering a tale of love, betrayal, and ambition amidst the backdrop of medieval England.

1. Harlots (2017-2019)

Step into the scandalous world of ‘Harlots,’ a sizzling period drama created by Moira Buffini and Alison Newman. Set in 18th-century London, the series follows the fierce rivalry between two brothel owners, Margaret Wells (Samantha Morton) and Lydia Quigley (Lesley Manville), as they battle for supremacy in the city’s bustling red-light district. Based on ‘The Covent Garden Ladies’ by Hallie Rubenhold, ‘Harlots’ offers a great blend of historical accuracy, complex characters, and catchy storytelling, shedding light on the lives of women marginalized by society. With its bold exploration of female empowerment, desire, and survival, ‘Harlots’ is a must-watch for fans of ‘Heeramandi,’ offering a journey into the untold stories of women in the shadows of history.

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