Heeramandi drops first song ‘Sakal Ban’ | The Express Tribune

Heeramandi drops first song ‘Sakal Ban’ | The Express Tribune

Renowned filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s much-anticipated project, Heeramandi, has unveiled its first song on Saturday, Sakal Ban, after years in the making. Known for his opulent and grand cinematic creations, the song’s music video relays the director’s yet another tryst with historical drama.

Borrowing the soulful vocals of Raja Hasan, Sakal Ban credits its composition to a “traditional” source, while the lyrics are accredited to the 14th-century poet Amir Khusro. The song’s music video features its ensemble cast including Manisha Koirala, Richa Chaddha, Aditi Rao Hydari, Sanjeeda Shaikh and Sharmin Sehgal, all immersed in dance.

However, for anyone familiar with Bhansali’s repertoire, this snapshot of the bigger project nearing its release is mostly unremarkable. Overhead shots of expansive architecture hosting perfectly choreographed dance sequences of courtesans feel overdone, the symmetry of their monochrome twirling skirts bringing a robotic touch to a story meant to involve real people.

One telling shot of a camera peering in at the dance through a glass is an apt description of the director’s ambitions: Bhansali makes no secret of him being a complete outsider to Heeramandi, both in his familiarity with history and the space. Rows of women are indistinguishable from afar as if even the heroines and the leading cast can be ‘erased’ as per the filmmaker’s beck and call.

This is all fair to how directorial ventures go about, a handful of people running the show and guiding the actors about. But seldom is the film’s manufacturedness made this obvious despite flaunting large budgets and no shortage of resources. 

For those for whom the visuals of Sakal Ban are striking, the colour palette would undeniably recycle any appreciation already expressed for Bhansali’s previous offering, Bajirao Mastani, particularly reminiscent of its iconic song Deewani Mastani

In a nostalgic reunion, Koirala, who starred in Bhansali’s debut feature Khamoshi: The Musical in 1996 alongside Salman Khan, shared her excitement about working with the maestro once again. As reported by The Indian Express, the actor described her journey with the filmmaker as “humongous,” she praised his growth as an artist and a filmmaker.

“We all have tried to do our best because we working with a master,” she shared. “To be working with Sanjay 25 years after his first film, Khamoshi, it can’t get better than that. It’s been a humongous journey, I’ve seen him grow as an artist, as a maestro, as a genius, he is India’s best, he is [one of] the greatest filmmakers in India. We are lucky to be working, sweating and trying to perfect our act. We are dying to show it to everybody.”

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