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New to Bollywood? 10 terms to understand before watching 'Heeramandi'

'Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar' has taken global Bollywood fans by storm, with impeccable dance sequences, melodic tunes and a compelling storyline.

New to Bollywood? 10 terms to understand before watching 'Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar' on Netflix

If you're new to Bollywood, the new Netflix series 'Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar' is a great place to begin.

Released on May 1, the Sanjay Leela Bhansali production has received critical acclaim and its fair share of criticism for the themes and historical conflicts the story lends itself to.

Particularly, the role courtesans played in preserving Indian cultural arts and in the struggle for India's independence from British rule.

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All in all, 'Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar' is a gripping and evocative drama set in the heart of pre-independent India, amidst the bustling streets and opulent palaces of Heeramandi, a renowned red-light district that thrives on the trade of diamonds and desires.

While the various titles used in 'Heeramandi' may not be new to those who frequent Bollywood productions, one could lose some of the allure of the Netflix series by not understanding them.

Beginning with the series title itself, Heeramandi was and still exists as an actual place in modern-day Pakistan.

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Heeramandi, which translates to "Diamond Market" or "Diamond Bazaar," was originally established during the 17th and 18th-century Mughal era as a red-light district and entertainment hub.

It was a bustling quarter where courtesans, dancers, musicians, and artists thrived, entertaining noblemen, aristocrats, and affluent patrons from across the Empire.

As colonial rule prevailed, the British administration imposed moralistic and puritanical laws that led to the stigmatisation and marginalisation of Heeramandi's courtesan community.

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Tawaifs were highly skilled and cultured female entertainers in the Indian subcontinent, particularly during the Mughal era and the subsequent periods of princely states.

They were trained in classical music, dance, poetry, and other fine arts.

Tawaifs also enjoyed a high social status and were often patrons of the arts known for their elegance, wit, and sophistication. The status of tawaifs declined, and they came to be associated more with prostitution than with artistry.

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Nawab is a title of nobility and honor used in South Asia, particularly in the Indian subcontinent, historically associated with Muslim rulers and princes.

The term originated from the Persian word "nawab" (نواب), which means "deputy" or "viceroy".

Sahab is an honorific term used in South Asia, particularly in Urdu-speaking regions, to address or refer to a gentleman or a person of respect. It is often appended to the name or title of the individual, signifying reverence and deference.

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Sawab is an Arabic term used in Islamic theology and ethics, referring to spiritual merit or reward earned by performing good deeds or acts of virtue. It is believed that accumulating sawab leads to spiritual growth and eventual reward in the afterlife.

Aapa is an Urdu term used to respectfully address an elder sister or any woman of authority and respect. It conveys affection, reverence, and familial or social hierarchy.

Ammi is an endearing term in Urdu and many Indian languages for mother. It signifies the love, respect, and nurturing role of a mother in the family.

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Abbu is an affectionate term in Urdu and other Indian languages for father. It represents the paternal figure and the authority, guidance, and support provided by a father in the family.

Begum is a title of respect and nobility used in South Asia, particularly in Mughal and princely states, to address a lady of high social standing, usually the wife of a nobleman or a ruler.

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Jaan is an Urdu term of endearment meaning "life" or "beloved". It is often used to express deep affection and attachment towards a loved one, such as a spouse or romantic partner.

Huzoor is an honorific title in Urdu, Persian, and Arabic, used to respectfully address or refer to a person of high rank or authority, such as a ruler, leader, or spiritual guide.

In 'Heeramandi', the madams who often were elder sisters or mothers of the tawaifs prefer to be called huzoor.

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Through its richly drawn characters and immersive storytelling, 'Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar' offers a memorable exploration of the timeless themes of desire, duty, and destiny.

This content was generated by an AI model and verified by the author.

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