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Sanjay Leela Bhansali on casting 'not perfect' actors for Heeramandi CEO of Netflix Ted Sarandos sat down for a conversation with renowned filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali to celebrate creativity and discuss the art of storytelling.

By Kavya Pillai

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Filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos

On February 18, the CEO of Netflix Ted Sarandos sat down for a conversation with renowned filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali to celebrate creativity and discuss the art of storytelling. Bhansali treated his audience with not one but two teasers for his first-ever OTT series called Heeramandi. The series is set in a pre-independent India where three generations of courtesans resided in the dazzling district of Heera Mandi. The series is brought to life by the charismatic cast comprising Manisha Koirala, Sonakshi Sinha, Aditi Rao Hydari, Richa Chadha, Sharmin Segal and Sanjeeda Shaikh.

Bhansali started the conversation with Sarandos by thanking him for the opportunity he had presented him with. He further explained how important Sarandos's support was during the creative journey of filmmaking from trusting the artist, to giving them enough space to explore the craft and creating an ideal environment for creative growth.

During the discussion, Bhansali was asked how he decided that these ladies ( the cast of Heeramandi) were perfect for the role. The filmmaker without losing a beat said, "They are not perfect." Not only did this crackup the audience but also the actors Manisha Koirala, Sonakshi Sinha and Aditi Rao who were present in the room. Bhansali explained how the actors not being perfect for the role aided the process of discovering what they individually bring to the role. He explained how the actors' interpretation is important as each role can be played in a hundred different ways, "but what Manisha Koirala brings to that role is different, and therefore you discover the process of 'Oh I have cast correctly' comes only at the end."

He explained how he asked himself, " what does Sonakshi bring to the role besides her beauty, stardom and aura? What does Aditi bring to the role?". Further elaborating that a filmmaker discovers his cast is perfect for their roles as they are making the film. As for how he cast them, Bhansali said, "intuitively." "I have cast these ladies as I've always wanted to work with each one of them and they are wonderfully talented at many things," he added.

Talking about the actors, Bhansali also added, " if you throw an ace at them they will throw two back at you." To conclude, the filmmaker with his tongue-in-cheek said, "yes they have tantrums, they take three hours to come out of the van full of jewellery and makeup but they are perfect for the role."

Kavya Pillai

Entrepreneur Staff

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