‘Heeramandi’ Ending Explained: Is Bibbojaan Dead Or Alive? 

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Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s TV debut is nothing less than an epic that humanizes the courtesans of Lahore’s diamond bazaar. The series tells the story of Mallikajaan, the queen of Heeramandi, the owner of Shahi Mahal. Mallika’s rise to the top begins when she kills her sister, who treats her worse than an enemy. Malika uses Zulfikar, an ordinary “nawab” smitten by her, to bury the truth about the murder and get freed of all charges, but somehow, she spares her sister Rehana’s young daughter Fareedan by selling her off. Twenty-five years later, Fareedan makes a return to Heeramandi with a vengeance in her eyes and determination in her stance. On the other hand, Mallika’s first daughter is a delicate darling who listens to every word of her mother’s; however, she’s secretly a freedom fighter. The younger daughter, Alam, wants to step away from the norm and become a respectable poet rather than a “tawaif,” but love comes in the way of her dreams and her mother’s, it seems. Alam falls in love with Tajdar, a nawab who hates the idea of the diamond bazaar. He’s quick to fall in love with Alam though. Her beauty and grace shielding him from knowing her lineage. Despite his wealth and his father’s connection with the British Raj, Taj decides to take revolution into his own hands, getting killed by the British officers and leaving a pregnant Alam back in Heeramandi, owing her mother her life for sacrificing herself to the British in return for Alam’s freedom. In the final episode of Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar, the revolution comes knocking on Heeramandi’s door, and the women are more than ready to fight.

Spoiler Alert


What Happens to Cartwright? 

The British officer Cartwright is basically the man behind all of Alam’s heartbreak. He is the reason Tajdar is dead; her mother was sexually abused, and her sister is going to the gallows. So, Ustaad decides to give Alam a chance to take revenge. He gives her a gun and offers her one night with the British officer. This is the moment for Alam to avenge all her loved ones, and what better way to do it than herself? Dressed in all red, like the blood that Cartwright has spilled, Alam goes to him at night, while all the other queens of Heeramandi take the streets of Lahore to show Bibbo their support. An unknowing Cartwright thinks nothing of Alam, but she proves him wrong by pulling out the gun and shooting him in the chest. The screen shuts off as she makes another shot, so we can be sure she’s killed the man. We can only imagine that all of the women who decided to take up the revolution that night would’ve faced dire consequences, and we can’t imagine Alam would’ve faced a different fate from her older sister. 


Why do the women gather?

News spreads that Bibbo is going to be gunned down. By this point, the fight between family and the fight between siblings and women are all forgotten for the fight against the British. Despite their internal hatred, Fareedan never wanted Mallika to be disrespected. All the women of Heeramandi do what they do out of circumstances, and that day, something awakened in Fareedan, so she decided to join hands with her cousins instead of going for their throats. Together, she and Mallika encourage all the women to step up and show Bibbo that she’s not alone when she’s dying for the country. The women all gather at night, sing a revolutionary song demanding freedom, and walk all the way to the wall behind which Bibbo is going to be killed. They push past the police officers, get beaten by sticks, and still, their resolution never gives way. Finally, before she’s shot dead by multiple police officers, Bibbo makes the revolutionary chant, and the women all roar out from behind the wall to make her feel their presence. With her death, the show comes to an end. Despite history forgetting their work in the revolution, the “tawaifs” fought with all their might. 


What Happened to the Tawaifs After Independence? 

The end of the series is somewhat optimistic for a better future for the women of Heeramandi, yet it’s somewhat bleak. All their lives, the Heeramndi diamonds wanted freedom from being “tawaifs.” However, after independence, they would struggle to be free women in an independent land who deserved respect. It seems that despite all their effort, their struggle will never end. There’s something or another that will continue to come in the way of life. At the end of the day, despite their own differences, the women all came together for the nation. I guess there’s one understanding between the women of Heeramandi. They all know that they’re the way they are because of circumstances. Fareedan forgave Mallika for killing her mother because she saw her suffer at the hands of Cartwright, which was, in a way, her fault. It seems Fareedan only wanted to bring Mallika to her knees physically and see her swallow her pride, but Cartwright took that as a sign to dishonor her. When Fareedan hears about it, she immediately says, “No woman would wish that on another.” 

Heeramandi‘s ending also hopes to be extra feminist and speak about the struggles of women today. It’s a sweet touch but almost feels a bit superficial. Of course, the message really is about the “tawaifs,” who went from artists of Heeramandi to being looked down upon as courtesans who sold their bodies. It reminded me of the one dialogue earlier in the show when Lajjo died, and Mallika said that “death is freedom” for the women of Heeramandi.


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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
When not tending to her fashion small business, Ruchika or Ru spends the rest of her time enjoying some cinema and TV all by herself. She's got a penchant for all things Korean and lives in drama world for the most part.

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