Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar season two - what to expect when hit Netflix show returns

Period drama by acclaimed Bollywood director Sanjay Leela Bhansali is the most-viewed Indian series in the world

From left, Aditi Rao Hydari as Bibbo, Manisha Koirala as Mallikajaan, Sanjeeda Sheikh as Waheeda and Richa Chadha as Lajjo. Photo: Netflix
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The courtesans of Heeramandi will soon return for season two. Netflix has announced it is renewing its hit Indian series, Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar, just one month following its release.

Based on the lives of tawaifs or courtesans in pre-independent India, the show has stuck a chord with audiences around the world thanks to its grand productions, costumes and music. Its dialogue and dances have also sparked thousands of memes on social media.

Released on May 1, Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar topped Netflix's non-English list in 43 countries, becoming the most-viewed Indian series globally. It has been in the No 1 spot in India since its launch.

Reportedly made on a whopping 2 billion rupee ($24 million) budget, according to Indian media, the show's production cost dwarfs some of the biggest Bollywood films.

“I'm blessed by the love and appreciation for Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar,” said director and creator Sanjay Leela Bhansali. “It's been a joy to see the show resonate with audiences worldwide and I couldn't have asked for a better partner than Netflix. I’m happy to announce that we’ll be back with season 2.”

What's Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar about?

Set in the 1940s, the series focuses on three generations of courtesans living in the Heeramandi neighbourhood of Lahore, now in Pakistan. Once a thriving diamond market, the area was transformed into a hub of prostitution during British colonial rule, where tawaifs or courtesans rule as queens, many of them wielding huge power and influence.

It centres on Mallikajaan (played by Manisha Koirala), who rules over an elite house of courtesans, whose authority is challenged by Fareedan (Sonakshi Sinha), the daughter of her late nemesis. Meanwhile, the city and country is roiling outside, as freedom fighters clash with British powers.

The show juxtaposes the power struggle within Heeramandi with India's fight for independence as the revolution engulfs the entire country.

How was it critically received?

Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar has received mixed reviews from critics. While many praised its sprawling shots and beautifully-designed set pieces – Firstpost called it “intoxicatingly beautiful” – others have criticised it for placing style over substance.

“If you're looking for a show to play in the background that you turn your attention to only sporadically, Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar may well be idea,” Film Companion says. “It looks beautiful, has dramatic moments and glitters with glamour. All it lacks is emotional complexity, narrative coherence and a general sense of intelligence.”

Memes on social media have also criticised Segal's acting, with many saying she was cast in a major role because she is the niece of Bhansali.

[SPOILER ALERT] What to expect from season two

While show creator Bhansali has given no hints about which direction the second season of Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar will take, it's safe to assume that fans cans expect a brave new world for the tawaifs of Heeramandi.

Having lost much of her power and influence – as well as her beloved daughter Bibbojaan (Aditi Rao Hydari) – and now fully involved with the rebellion, it will be interesting to see how Mallikajaan continues to stand up against the British and their supporters. Meanwhile, her daughter Alamzeb (Segal) will have to face the consequences of her actions, having murdered a British officer, while also mourning the death of her beloved Tajdar, whose child she is carrying.

Meanwhile, Fareedan will have to assert herself as the new leader of Shahi Mahal, after Mallikajaan hands her the power.

A date for the premiere of season two has not yet been announced.

Updated: June 03, 2024, 3:07 PM