'Heeramandi' additional director Snehil Dixit Mehra: People who hire talent know I’ve done this

13 May,2024 06:26 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Mohar Basu

Snehil, who is among Heeramandi’s five additional directors, says she has caught the industry’s attention despite the series being promoted as an out-and-out Bhansali offering

Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar

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Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar was eagerly anticipated as it marked Sanjay Leela Bhansali's OTT debut. Everyone wanted to see how the filmmaker would bring his big-screen grandeur into our living rooms. But the period drama saw five others, credited as additional directors, joining Bhansali in the endeavour - The Empire (2021) director Mitakshara Kumar, Hawaizaada (2015) maker Vibhu Puri, Abhiiruchi Lovel Risshi, Ashna Srivastava, and Apharan (2018) director Snehil Dixit Mehra.

When we sit down with Mehra, she tells us the past fortnight has been "overwhelming." "Doing a Netflix title changes the game. People will trust me more now. I shot a chunk of the revolutionary track in the story. That storyline gave depth to the show. Heeramandi isn't about the glorification of tawaifs; it's set in the 1940s when tawaifs were ruling the roost. This show gave the perspective on what caused them to fade," she says.

Mehra, who has written TV shows and also dabbles in comedy, believes working with Bhansali upped her writing skills. Think of it as a masterclass, she says. "I was in the front row of the masterclass, and got paid for it. My screenwriting improved in his writers' room. For instance, I'd write, ‘She is perplexed.' He'd ask me, ‘How will you show that?' In television, there is a race against time. Sir taught me that what appears on screen is sacrosanct. So, he would encourage me to take my time with it."

The Manisha Koirala, Sonakshi Sinha, Aditi Rao Hydari, Richa Chadha, Sanjeeda Shaikh and Sharmin Segal-starrer may have received a mixed response, but remains the streamer's biggest Indian show. Does it bother her that it's being viewed as an out-and-out Bhansali offering? The other directors have hardly had their share of fame. "I understand it is Bhansali sir's show. Direction is a subjective skill set. We had to follow his vision as he is the series' director. If I were to shoot this, I would've done it differently. I think I got my due. I entered the show as one of the people in the writing team and walked away with an additional director credit. It's a huge win. People who hire talent know I have done this. I'm getting phone calls. I'm grateful that he took a chance on me."

Given the kind of interest the project generated right from its announcement, there must have been discussions of a second season in the writers' room. She laughs, "Those discussions would happen, but Bhansali sir would say, ‘Pehle yeh toh khatam karo.'"

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Heeramandi sanjay leela bhansali manisha koirala sonakshi sinha aditi rao hydari richa chadha sanjeeda sheikh bollywood news Entertainment News
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