Some time ago, Lahore’s red-light district Heera Mandi hit the headlines in India. The reason: filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali planned to make a film of the same name. The project fell through later, apparently because he couldn’t find a suitable female actor for it.
Even as the trade is abuzz with talk that Bhansali might soon go ahead with Heera Mandi, with Rani Mukerji in the lead, the director admits that the film exists in his mind. “However, right now, I am living Ram Leela and my other four projects (productions). Nothing else comes to mind. It’s (Heera Mandi) definitely a project that I dream of making. But officially, as of now, it’s all Ram Leela,” says the filmmaker.
Ask Bhansali if he plans to cast Rani in Heera Mandi and he says, “God willing, if something emerges, we will definitely work together. She’s an actor who isn’t done with what she has to do. I think she’s one of the finest our country has ever had.”
Rani, who worked in Bhansali’s award-winning film, Black (2005) also worked with him Saawariya (2007). “She is an actor and a friend who I will love till my last breath. I still cherish her performance in Black. It’s not just her performance, but the entire process of creating and portraying it so efficiently which is great. She has kept our friendship going even after the shoot ended and stood by me when I wanted her. It’s such a great equation that we both share,” he says.