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Wednesday, May 22, 2024


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    Title: Artists have the right to express: In conversation with Indresh Malik, aka Ustaad ji from Heeramandi
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    Artists Have The Right To Express In Conversation With Indresh Malik Aka Ustaad Ji From Heeramandi 50159
    Description: Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar is currently the talk of the town. Sanjay Leela Bhansali's OTT debut had long been dressed up to be one of his greatest projects to date. As audiences consume the narrative set in pre-partition Lahore, many find themselves blown away by the visual feast that is the series, with scores taking to social media to praise select riveting performances. One such performance is that of Indresh Malik as Ustaad ji. The morally ambiguous strategist whose allegiances lay divided between Mallikajaan's Shahi Mahal and Fareedan's Khwabgah has dazzled audiences with his compelling portrayal of the Heeramandi loyalist. In an exclusive conversation with The Express Tribune, Indresh tells all. "I received a call from Shruti Mahajan's casting company, asking if I would take on this role," says Indresh, when asked about the process of him being onboarded for the role. "Initially, it was supposed to be a small part, but I immediately knew I had to do it." He humbly adds, "Sanjay Leela Bhansali has been kind enough to give me this opportunity." Shedding light on the entire adventure that was the shooting of Heeramandi, Indresh reveals, "It was an experience to cherish, being my second project with Sanjay Leela Bhansali. I learned a lot and will keep learning as long as I'm alive. I was encouraged to improvise, and my inputs were accepted. I had a wonderful team that helped me sail through." Carrying out the execution of a character that dances in the grey can be a dream come true for many, and for Indresh, it seems this was one of the reasons why he gravitated towards Ustaad ji. "I was drawn to the complex personality, background, vulnerability, and turmoil of this character, along with his craving for love and acceptance," shares the actor. "There are many shades of courage associated with his past." Bhansali is known to be a visionary driven by his creative prowess. Many have gone on record to speak about the same, with some admitting it can be intimidating enough to invoke a desire to throw in the towel. Indresh, however, disagrees. "It was all passion," he remarks. "Sanjay ji is too passionate, and it was infectious. I just went with the flow." The flowing river of passion can be a nourishing hub for creatives, but it can also lead to a project drowning in its own source of survival. A heated debate that has begun, at least in Pakistan, is that around the respect for the source material. While many have lauded the aesthetic value of Bhansali's Heeramandi, others cannot help but feel it does a disservice by deviating too far from the historically significant setting it sets out to fictionalise. To this, Indresh retorts, "It's a debatable issue. Artists have the right to express and create, and it's being loved all over." Despite the source of contention, one cannot drown out the cacophony of applause the project has been receiving. "It's heartwarming," says Indresh. "I never expected this kind of adulation. God has been kind." He adds, "Apart from Sanjay ji, my directors Mitakshara Kumar, Abhiruchi, Vibhu Puri, Swapnil, and Ashna were of great help. Vahbiz Dorabjee has been a pillar of strength." After an artful performance, as Indresh basks in the glory of the praise he is receiving for portraying a character as nuanced and complex as Ustaad ji, the actor hints that he has a lot more to offer. When asked about what fans and admirers can expect to see him in next, he simply teases, "Another rocking and excellent piece of work." Have something to add? Share it in the comments
    Published Date: 08-May-2024
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