‘Heeramandi’ Family Tree, Explained: How Are The Characters Related To Each Other?

Heeramandi by Sanjay Leela Bhansali on Netflix Indian may not have been complicated when it comes to the technical side of the film, and by that, we mean the production design and the direction. The screenplay that described the characters in the show was rather complicated. With the run down on interpersonal relationships, this article will help the readers connect the dots on how each character was related to each other.


Spoilers Ahead

Rehana Aapa

Heeramandi begins with Rehana Aapa of the Khwabgah Palace in Heeramandi, who was the older sister to Mallika. Rehana’s sahab was Nawab Zulfikar, who was showing interest in courting Mallika. Rehana was also a mother to Zulfikar’s daughter, Fareedan. On Rehana’s murder, Waheeda, another courtesan, was a witness. The boy Rehana sold in exchange for jewels grew up to be Nawab Zorawar, raised by Qutbuddin as his own. 



Waheeda referred to Mallika as Aapa, which means older sister, but again, every woman in Heeramandi used this term for older and more experienced courtesans. Waheeda may have been Rehana and Mallika’s younger sibling who chose the opportunity to gain some perks as she was a witness to Rehana’s murder. Rehana’s death changed the dynamics in Heeramandi as Mallika took over as the madam and moved to Shahi Mahal to become Mallikajaan. Waheeda was promised Khwabgah post-the property dispute in return for her silence, and the young woman has followed Mallika ever since. Waheeda also had a daughter, Shama, who became a courtesan just like her.


Fareedan was the daughter Rehana probably had with Nawab Zulfikar, who was sold right after her mother’s apparent suicide, which many knew to have been a murder. Fareedan years later came back to take back control of the palace, which was essentially her home, Khwabgah. Fareedan’s parentage makes her cousin/stepsister to Bibbojaan, Alamzeb, and Zorawar, the illegitimate son of Mallika with Zulfikar. Nawab Zulfikar was the common thread. As a noble, he bedded many women; these four were possibly one of the many. 



Mallika grew up to become the Madam of Shahi Palace and a mother to Bibbojaan and Alamzeb. She was Fareedan’s aunt and a nemesis, as the young woman returned to exact revenge on her. Mallikajaan’s only patron was Nawab Zulfikar, and the two had been in love for many years. The other reason both chose to stay with each other was their role in Rehana’s death. Any one of them leaving the affair would be problematic, and this proves the relationship was probably toxic as well. Mallika was also raising women sold to her, and one of them was Lajjo, who was referred to as Lajjo Aapa.

Lajjo Aapa

Lajjo, as a young girl, was sold to Mallikajaan by her aunt, and the woman never came back looking for her. Mallikajaan raised her as her own, along with her daughters, Bibbojaan and Alamzeb. Lajjo Aapa was slightly older than them, and they treated her as their confidante. Lajjo was in love with Sahab Nawab Zorawar, who was the illegitimate son of her foster mother Mallikajaan and Nawab Zulfikar. Her love for him never faded away, and she resorted to performing at his wedding, where he publicly humiliated her and Mallikajaan. A heartbroken Lajjo died, as she probably could not stand the love of her life being taken away. 



Bibbojaan was the oldest daughter of Mallikajaan, who grew up in Shahi Mahal and was trained to be a singer and a dancer. She was known for her heavenly voice and dancing skills, which attracted the attention of Wali Mohammad. Nawab Wali Mohammad and Bibbojaan were inseparable and very much in love, but the rules of Heeramandi would never allow them to wed or have a definite future. Sadly, Bibbojaan was used as a pawn by her mother, Mallikajaan, to thwart Fareedan’s plan to make debut as a dancer. Bibbojaan’s last dance was announced, and Nawabs arrived to witness a young Bibo retire, including her love, Wali Mohammad. Wali wholeheartedly accepted her retirement and moved to Fareedan’s residence, Khwabgah, to become her patron. Fareedan and Bibbojaan were cousins or stepsisters, and it broke an innocent Bibbo to see her lover leave her behind without fighting for her. 


Alamzeb was the youngest daughter of Mallikajaan and Nawab Zulfikar, which would make her cousin or stepsister of Fareedan as well as Nawab Zorawar. Alamzeb, unlike her sisters and her mother, was not keen on becoming a courtesan. She wanted to be a poetess and was pursuing that dream. Alamzeb fell in love with Nawab Tajdar Baloch, the heir to his father’s business in Lahore. Alamzeb and Tajdar courted because of the encouragement of Fareedan, who initially had ulterior motives. The young couple became victims of a time when a woman of her stature would never be accepted as a wife. Their lives changed forever because of their parents’ egotistical nature. 



Nawab Tajdar was the son of Nawab Ashfaq Baloch, one of the richest businessmen and hoteliers in Lahore, who wanted his son to join him to expand the business. He and Alamzeb experienced love at first sight. Despite many obstacles, both wanted to be with each other. Tajdar was closest to his grandmother, Qudsia Begum, who always supported his life decisions, unlike his father. Tajdar and Alamzeb’s love remained unfulfilled, and it mirrored many of the doomed love stories many have read over the years.

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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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