Ushna Shah: ‘Bhansali’s series on Heera Mandi is taking opportunities away from Pakistani artists’
Recently, Indian filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali annouenced that he is making Netflix series on Lahore’s infamous Heera Mandi. However, Pakistani actor Ushna Shah reacted to news regarding the series and said the latter is taking away opportunities from our artists.
In the comments section of the post about upcoming series, the Balaa actor wrote, “It’s not his to make! It’s not theirs to make! This is so infuriating! Netflix doesn’t fund original projects for Pakistan. This is an opportunity taken away from Pakistani directors and filmmakers. Collaboration is one thing but this is appropriation.”
She went on, “Heeramandi is set in Lahore which is in Pakistan, and even if we abide by the pre-partition argument: Mughal history is often denied by India and it is what Pakistani history is set on (school books etc). India has a plethora of rich culture and history to base films on, whereas we predominantly relate to the Mughals. This would be like a Pakistani director making Mahabharata.”
She explained, “Plus it would lose authenticity: The Urdu language with Farsi roots always seems pretentious when one sees it in Indian films, we can’t do Sanskrit like them and they won’t be able to do this like us.”
Shah further added, “We have so many young filmmakers who have studied film and would dedicate their blood and sweat to make this as authentic as possible, they’re simply not given the chance. even the descendants of Heera Mandi occupants still live in Lahore. SLB would have made it beautiful, but it would have been even better had they made it a collaboration with say, Saqib Malik. That is my opinion and I’m sticking to it.”
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