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Shekhar Suman Believes That Sex Workers Contribute to Societal Safety: Says “Contribution is Immense”

In Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Heeramandi,” Shekhar Suman embodies the character of Nawab Zulfikar, a prominent figure in the red-light district of Lahore during the pre-partition era. His portrayal in the epic series has garnered widespread acclaim from cinephiles, with his nuanced performance resonating deeply with audiences.

In a recent interview with Radio Nasha, Shekhar Suman delved into the themes explored in “Heeramandi” and shared his perspective on the societal role of sex workers. The series intricately depicts the complex relationship between Nawabs and courtesans, shedding light on the lives of individuals often misunderstood as mere sex workers.

Shekhar Suman highlighted that the circumstances imposed by society often compel women to enter the profession of sex work. He emphasized, “It is the society which has made them this way. A lot of times on the show, it has been spelt out that no woman becomes a prostitute out of choice.” Despite societal stigma, he emphasized the significant contribution of sex workers to society, noting, “Their contribution to the society is immense… The society is safe because men get to channelize their sexual hunger towards sex workers.”

Describing “Heeramandi” as an “institution,” Shekhar elaborated on the pivotal role of courtesans in shaping cultural and societal dynamics. He emphasized the educational and cultural exchange that occurred within the confines of Heeramandi, where nawabs would often seek enlightenment from courtesans. Furthermore, he underscored the often-overlooked contributions of courtesans to the freedom movement, portraying them as unsung heroes who played a crucial role in shaping India’s history.

“Heeramandi” is set against the backdrop of the tumultuous period of the 1920s-1940s, coinciding with the Indian independence movement. Alongside Shekhar Suman, the series features a stellar ensemble cast including his son Adhyayan Suman, Manisha Koirala, Sonakshi Sinha, Aditi Rao Hydari, Sharmin Segal, Richa Chadha, Sanjeeda Sheikh, and Farida Jalal, each portraying integral characters in this epic tale.

Through its compelling narrative and nuanced character portrayals, “Heeramandi” offers a poignant exploration of societal dynamics, shedding light on the often-overlooked contributions of marginalized communities. As viewers immerse themselves in this captivating world, they are confronted with the complexities of human nature and the enduring resilience of the human spirit.

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