Lajjo In ‘Heeramandi’ Explained: Is She Dead Or Alive?

In the pre-independence era of 1920, Lahore was under the full sway of British rule. And there we get introduced to Heeramandi, in the heart of this city, where the art of the “tawaifs,” or courtesans, reigned supreme. Their mesmerizing dances with ghungroos and their skill in the art of seduction captured the attention not only of the British government but also of the nawabs, who treated them like queens. But, despite their beauty and appeal, falling in love was forbidden for them. After all, they were objects of desire, bought with jewels and diamonds by nawabs, who gave them the illusion of owning their hearts. But if a tawaif fell in love, these nawabs would flee, leaving behind their shattered hopes and illegitimate children without giving any acknowledgment of their identity. One such mistake was made by Lajjo, a courtesan of Heeramandi, who dared to love Nawab Zorawar Sahab. But as history repeats, Zorawar Sahab betrayed her, breaking her heart. What would be the outcome of this betrayal? Let’s dive into Lajjo’s character from the new Netflix series Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar. One thing’s for sure: Richa Chadha’s portrayal of Lajjo’s unrequited love will surely make your heart weep.


Spoilers Ahead

Who is Lajjo? 

We’re introduced to Lajjo at the Shahi Mahal for Alam’s debut. Mallikajaan rules this grand palace in the territory of Heeramandi. Alam, Mallikajan’s youngest daughter, is about to make her debut performance in front of the nawabs, and everyone’s excited about it. But it is not Alam’s dream. She wants to be a poetess and doesn’t want to perform in front of British officers or nawabs for mere money and jewels. She dares to dream. When she shares this with Lajjo, she laughs. After all, she knows how hard it is for a tawaif to dream in Heeramandi. It’s just not possible. After all, she was only six years old when her awful aunt sold her into this life in Heeramandi, stealing her innocence along with her dreams. But the only thing she truly dreams about is marrying Nawab Zorawar Sahab. She believes he’ll set her free, marry her, and take her out of this cage of Heeramandi, treating her like a queen. Even though everyone thinks she should stop daydreaming, she doesn’t. To her, Zorawar is not just a dream but her reality, and she’ll do anything to be with him. But deep down, she knows she’s been daydreaming. Zorawar doesn’t come to her anymore; he doesn’t love her, and it hurts her and eats her up inside. She lives in a delusion, telling people Zorawar has given her expensive gifts, from foreign sarees to jhumkas to a pricey ring, even an airplane, so no one can speak ill of him. Even though people around her try to make her see she’s been making up stories, she doesn’t want to believe them. After all, she’s deeply invested in her love for Zorawar. She drinks heavily in pain, falls into depression, and becomes addicted to opium, but still, her dream of marrying Zorawar never fades.


Why was Lajjo invited to Zorawar’s wedding? 

As Lajjo was deeply delusional, she dressed herself in a beautiful saree, adorned with jewels and flowers in her hair, hoping to lure Zorawar and make him fall in love with her again. She wanted him to call her “Miss Lajjo” like he used to. But when she went to see Zorawar, she caught him flirting with another noblewoman. Were the rumors true? Was he really having an affair, just like Wali Sahab, another nawab, had warned her? Zorawar shattered her dreams and delusions in minutes. He brutally revealed the truth. The noblewoman he was flirting with was Saba Rehmani, his soon-to-be wife. He no longer wanted any contact with Lajjo, except for one last performance at his wedding, so he could publicly humiliate her. Lajjo couldn’t understand. After all, Zorawar had promised to marry her. So why was he marrying someone else? Just because she was wealthy and came from a respected family? Lajjo was even fine with being Zorawar’s second wife. She believed they could live together like sisters, as it was common for nawabs to have two wives. Her love made her blind, and she lost her self-respect. She still asked Zorawar where they would go for their honeymoon—London or Paris—so she wouldn’t have to say goodbye. All she wanted was to be with him, nothing else.

What happened at Zorawar’s wedding? 

Lajjo knew that performing at Zorawar’s wedding would break her heart; seeing her love leave right before her eyes would be unbearable, but she still held onto a last hope that maybe, just maybe, seeing her in a beautiful gown and watching her perform like old times would make Zorawar ask her to marry him. Even though Mallikajaan and all the women of Shahi Mahal told her not to go, she still went. In front of everyone, Zorawar asked Lajjo to perform. As she danced, you could see the pain of her unfulfilled love in her eyes. When she tried to approach Zorawar, he slapped her in front of everyone. After all, she had made the mistake of loving a nawab while being a lowly tawaif. It was bound to happen. Mallikajaan came to ask for forgiveness for this sin, but Zorawar had no idea that he himself was the illegitimate son of Zulfikar Nawab and Mallikajaan. His own birth had taken place in the lowly tawaif house of Heeramandi. So all his pride and sympathy shown to a woman in the brothel went to waste. Mallikajan stood up for Lajjo and humiliated Zorawar in front of everyone. But that didn’t ease Lajjo’s pain; she felt humiliated, betrayed, and hurt—not just because she lost her love but also because she dared to dream of escaping the prison of her life in Heeramandi. She didn’t even look at Zorawar as she took her leave, knowing he had bid her goodbye long ago.


In the end, as Lajjo was returning to her prison of Heeramandi with Mallikajan in the chariot, she drank herself to death. As the chariot rumbled and made a break in the road, she fell face down in the chariot and died then and there. Perhaps this was her freedom from the prison of Heeramandi, the one she had dreamt of all along.

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Sutanuka Banerjee
Sutanuka Banerjee
Sutanuka, a devoted movie enthusiast, embarked on her cinematic journey since childhood, captivated by the enchanting world of the Harry Potter series. This early passion ignited her love for movies, providing an escape into the magical realms of cinema. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in media science, combining her academic pursuits with her unwavering passion for the silver screen.

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