Netflix’s Heeramandi: All Shooting Locations Explored

The star-studded Indian period drama series, Netflix’s ‘Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar’ is created by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. It follows Mallikajaan and her battle for succession of the titular property, a place where courtesans reign as queens, against arch nemesis, Fareedan. Mallikajaan ends up making a mistake by putting all her faith in her youngest daughter, Alam, as the latter sacrifices power and chooses to be with one man whom she loves.

The creator, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, explores the classic themes of love and betrayal through several complex characters, who are brought to life brilliantly by some of the most talented actors in Bollywood, including Manisha Koirala, Sonakshi Sinha, Aditi Rao Hydari, Sharmin Segal, Richa Chadha, and Sanjeeda Sheikh. Set during the colonized Indian independence movement against the British in the 1940s, the show mainly revolves around the courtesans working and living in the red-light district of Heera Mandi in Lahore, where almost the entirety of the drama unfolds.

Where is Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar Filmed?

The magnificent world of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar’ is a culmination of natural backdrops as well as those built in studios. Filming for season 1 of the show kickstarted in June 2022 and went on for months in multiple locations in Pakistan as well as India to honor its setting. Though speculations of Bhansali being dissatisfied with some sequences and asking for a reshoot were rife in early 2023, a source dismissed the reports as mere rumors and cleared the air around reshoots, stating that the acclaimed filmmaker is pleased with how the first installment has turned out.

Mumbai, India

Keeping up with the tradition of several of Bhansali’s films, the sprawling city of Mumbai in Maharashtra, India, serves as a primary shooting site for ‘Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar.’ The team of over 700 members spent nearly 7 months building a magnanimous set in Film City or Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagri, situated at Goregaon East. Interestingly, the colossal set where most of the action in the show takes place is reportedly the result of a concept that Bhansali simmered for over 18 years. Spanning three acres, it comprises the palace of Manisha Koirala’s formidable character, Mallikajaan — the Madam who headed the brothel in the titular place in Pakistan, as well as quarters for other courtesans.

In fact, the mosque, grand courtyard, dance hall, public bathroom, and fountain that elevate the beauty of the place and offer an authentic depiction of the time have also been constructed in the production studios, making use of approximately 60,000 planks and frames of wood and metal, respectively. Known for his meticulous nature pertaining to each and every set piece, ranging from floor carving to ceiling attachments used to embellish the set, it has been reported that several props such as doors, chandeliers, and other pieces of furniture were either handmade under Bhansali’s directions or ordered by the director from antique stores in Ahmedabad, Gujrat, for his personal use after the shoot.

In a candid interview with Architectural Digest Magazine, the award-winning filmmaker expressed the importance of intricate physical details in the stories he weaves for the scenes and also confessed that Heeramandi is his “biggest set ever, where walls have been pushed way beyond I would have imagined as a child.” Richa Chadha, who steps into the role of Lajjo, spoke to Hindustan Times and shared her experience during the filming and also gave some insight into the hard work, patience, and attention that went into building the set from the ground up.

She said, “It happened during the discussions about my character selection. The set construction process was extensive and time-consuming. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s vision for the set was grand, perhaps his most elaborate yet. The set sprawled across a vast area in Film City and was meticulously designed,” the actress revealed. She also shared how mesmerized she was by the charm of the detailed set and went on to explain how she almost violated the “no phones” policy to capture the beauty of the striking backdrop.

Lahore, Pakistan

Additional portions of ‘Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar’ are taped in and around Lahore, the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab. Situated in the northeastern portion of Pakistan, Lahore is the primary setting of the show. Thus, a few establishing shots and exterior scenes are recorded on location to maintain the authenticity of the story.

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