Fareedan In ‘Heeramandi’ Explained: What Happens To Rehana’s Daughter In The End?

Heeramandi has to be one of the most extravagant shows coming out of Netflix India. Sanjay Leela Bhansali may have created one of the most opulent series there ever was in the OTT space. The attention to detail in every scene and frame is impeccable. Along with eye-catching production design, the veteran director has created some extremely beautifully flawed characters that will be remembered for years to come. It is exciting to watch a show headlined by women and the stories of their life journeys in the pre-independence era. One of the major characters in the show has to be the one portrayed by Sonakshi Sinha as Rehana and her daughter Fareedan. 

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Heeramandi begins with Sonakshi Sinha as the mother figure, Rehana Aapa, who was a major decision-maker at the Khwabgah palace in Heeramandi. Rehana Aapa was what Mallika became years later. A tyrannical woman who had no regard for the women working under her. Most of the courtesans referred to her as Aapa, aka older sister, but she hardly performed the duties of an older sibling in the palace. Rehana gave away the newborn son of Mallika, one of her courtesans. She did it without the permission of the mother. Rehana was clear that she never wanted a son to be raised in an environment as volatile and crumbling as Heeramandi, where he could have been reduced to a eunuch. Rehana, being the sole decision-maker, figured this was the right thing to do, which did not go down well with Mallika. 

Rehana was an aging madam as well, who might have been jealous of Mallika’s closeness with her Sahab Nawab Zulfikar. The fact that Mallika gave birth to her son, who could be the heir to his seat, may have triggered her to give away the infant. Rehana also had a daughter with Nawab Zulfikar, but this was set during a time when daughters and women never inherited anything from their fathers. Rehana did not want Mallika to become more powerful than her in Heeramandi, as her son could inherit something of value from his father. This move by Rehana, along with her plan to sell Mallika to another patron, led to her death. Rehana was under the impression Mallika would not react to her hostile behavior which would be the cause of her end. Mallika smothered her to death for obvious reasons, and she was supported by Nawab Zulfikar, who now had feelings for her.

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Mallika was the younger one, and her youth may have caused all the trouble in the first place. Rehana’s death came as a shock to Heeramandi, as Mallika declared it a suicide. Her role in Rehana’s death haunted her years later. Mallika decided to sell Rehana’s daughter Fareedan to a much older patron to avoid any further complications from any of the children of Zulfikar. Mallika wanted to reciprocate what the now-deceased Rehana had done to her. Fareedan was assumed would never return until she did to Heeramandi years later seeking what was hers.

Fareedan was the spitting image of her mother, and this frightened Mallikajaan, who was now the madam of Shahi Mahal, one of the most opulent courts for dancers and singers in Heeramandi. Fareedan was aware of Mallikajaan’s role in her mother’s death, yet she never had any evidence or witnesses to prove her allegations. Fareedan’s presence threatened Mallikajaan, while she refused to showcase her fear. Fareedan, on the other hand, was having a tough time beating down Mallikajaan’s pride, which was her end goal. She wanted to break the rules of Heeramandi by becoming the first non-virgin to perform her debut in the hope of securing a nobleman who would be mesmerized by her beauty and shower love on her in the form of money and jewelry.

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Fareedan lost the first battle as she underestimated the power, knowledge, and experience Mallikajaan had acquired over the years. This helped her be prepared for the upcoming battle, which included hurting the daughters of Mallikajaan; Bibbojaan and Alamzeb. Fareedan chose to pursue Wali Mohammed, the ex-lover of Bibbojaan, and by doing so she made the woman’s life miserable. Fareedan, who was now occupying Khwabgah, made the palace her harem where she entertained British men as well, which was an abomination for Heeramandi and the other madams living there. Fareedan, in the pursuit of power, became the rule breaker in a sense; she began to seduce more than one man in the hope of ending Mallikajaan’s reign in Heeramandi. Officer Cartwright was the second man, and both benefited from sleeping with each other as their end goal was to corner the madam of Shahi Mahal and end her power. 

Fareedan found pleasure in messing with Alamzeb and the love the young woman had for Nawab Tajdar. She tried to create friction between the two, but to her shock, both became closer. She may have been a mean woman in the beginning, but slowly she was happy to know Alamzeb might get her happy ending after all, unlike other courtesans in Heeramandi. Her life was going smoothly until Mallikajaan confronted her with the knowledge of her past, which included stories of the murders and arson she had committed. Fareedan, as a woman, was expected to fall to her fate, but her history proves that she strives to be a free bird but her life had other plans. The men betrayed her all this while, which may have forced her to take the criminal path to save herself. There was no clear indication if she was seeking independence or looking for true love. But this does not justify her acts of crime. She had the vigor to live that made her come back to Heeramandi, the place of her childhood, which was probably filled with memories of her mother, Rehana. 

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Fareedan was shaken to the core when she learned of Mallikajaan’s rape, as she had not expected her nemesis to be violated. As a woman, she never wanted her worst nightmare to befall her enemy and made her detest Officer Cartwright. This made her change her mind and she began to sympathize with Mallikajaan. Fareedan was again unlucky when he was a witness to Tajdar’s death at the hands of the same officer. His death, followed by Alamzeb’s mental deterioration, made her change her mind and support Mallikajaan and her plans to shelter the freedom fighters. 

Fareedan was eventually made the heir to Mallikajaan, who could finally see her nemesis’ daughter to be as ruthless as she ever was. Fareedan was forever grateful for being considered by the great Mallikajaan for her seat in Heeramandi; this finally made her go against the British. She began to believe there could be an upside to her country receiving freedom from the British and their allies, the Nawabs. Just like other courtesans, she hoped the women of her profession would be treated equally and with dignity and independence. Their fight and resistance were just beginning, and there was some hope there would be light at the end of the tunnel for women like her. 

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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