Renowned Bollywood filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali is gearing up for his next film titled Heera Mandi. Specified as a passion project, the film would explore the hidden culture of the red light area in the Walled City of Lahore. However, Pakistani actor Mansha Pasha is not too happy with the news.
“India is making a film on Lahore and the infamous Heera Mandi of yesteryears. Because we live in a country where fictional narrative is often censored and everyone keeps arguing about what is or isn’t “morally acceptable” fiction,” she wrote on Twitter showing her displeasure over the lack of creative freedom in the local industry.
The Laal Kabootar star went on to add that this gives others the power to tell our stories while we end up with limited narratives and unlimited restrictions.
“Others make most of the opportunity taking up the stories that are native to our country, brand them and sell them to the rest of the world. In the end what will be left will be our stories told from someone else’s mouth. Sad,” she further wrote.
…taking up the stories that are native to our country, brand them and sell them to the rest of the world. In the end what will be left will be our stories told from someone elses mouth.
— Mansha Pasha (@manshapasha) January 10, 2021
This is not the first time Bollywood draws inspiration from Pakistani culture, people or regions, however, it’s unfortunate that Pakistani filmmakers cannot tell their own stories without being banned or censored.
According to reports other than Alia Bhatt, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit, Deepika Padukone, Parineeti Chopra, Manisha Koirala, and Vidya Balan are also being considered for this project.
“Sanjay is personally doing the casting. Though officially his former assistant Vibhu Puri is going to direct Heera Mandi, SLB’s stamp will be evident in every frame,” cited Bollywood Hungama.
Heera Mandi is expected to release on a digital platform, however, it is unclear whether the upcoming project will be a short web series or a film.