Richa Chadha took inspiration for her part in Heeramandi from Meena Kumari’s Pakeezah

As she prepares to launch her new streaming series Heeramandi—TThe Diamond Bazaar, Richa Chadha says she drew inspiration for her character’s design from the famous performance of the late, great actress Meena Kumari.

Richa plays the mysterious and alluring courtesan Lajjo in the series. She said that Meena Kumari’s performance of Shahibjaan in the timeless film Pakeezah served as her source of inspiration. She analyzed Meena Kumari’s persona, making comparisons between Lajjo and Sahibjaan.

“Carefully observing, learning from and taking lessons from Meena Kumari ji’s character in Pakeezah was a truly enriching and deeply transforming experience for me ahead of shooting for Heeramandi,” Richa remarked in reference to her preparations for the role. Meena Kumari’s portrayal in Paakezah had a sad depth and complexity that connected with my character, Lajjo, in the musical. I studied Meena ji’s work and worked on my voice and diction, sometimes almost to the point of mimicking.

She said, “It was an honor to pay tribute to Meena Kumari ji through my portrayal of Lajjo, and I felt like I was walking in the footsteps of a cinematic legend.”

Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the director, makes his webseries debut with Heeramandi — The Diamond Bazaar, which explores the world of courtesans.

On May 1, the series will launch on Netflix.

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