With a warm smile, heart full of promising stories, waiting to unveil her perspectives and the things life has taught her, the Bollywood diva makes her way towards us. Welcoming us to her beautiful garden, Manisha Koirala looked excited and confident. Renowned for her exceptional acting, Manisha is also known as a cancer fighter and survivor, motivational figure, author and an inspiration to many.
Her recently published memoir “Healed” tells the story of all the important phases of her life. Her memoir is an inspiration for those who are in the midst of overcoming challenges in their own lives. In her comeback role (after surviving cancer) in “Dear Maya,” Manisha portrayed a lonely woman who welcomes life and love with open arms after a series of letters written to her, prompted her to do so. “The decision to do the film taught me a lot about getting up from the rubble and starting a new life,” says Koirala. Having been diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012, Manisha battled cancer and was declared cancer-free in 2015. For Manisha, the cancer was penance for all the times she had taken life for granted. In one of her interviews, she confessed that the news of her cancer came at an emotional low point in her life, when she had many struggles in her personal life.
Manisha started her career in the industry at a very young age. When starting out, she was more innocent, timid, apprehensive and shy. Her Bollywood debut was in a Subash Ghai directed movie, Saudagar with Vivek Muharan. This movie gave her a lot of exposure to the industry. This was a small first step to her stairway of blockbuster hits and displaying her acting prowess to the world. Reminiscing about her first years in Bollywood, Manisha was simply fascinated by the industry, that pulled her away from her politically blessed family in Nepal. “There were many feelings of low confidence, struggles and hurdles that I faced, but I was motivated to make a name in the industry, portraying different characters and learning and doing something new,” says Manisha. When asked about experiencing a cultural shock in the industry, she said that the support of the people around her kept her safe. The anticipation of becoming a future diva kept her focused on fulfilling her aspiration. This meant devoting and giving her best during acting trainings, horse riding sessions, dancing, diction classes and taking lessons from her seniors.
With a successful and illustrious career, Manisha’s life looks picture perfect to anyone who sees it on the surface level. What most people do not see or comprehend are the many challenges and the life-altering incidents she has encountered. She has faced many drawbacks in her professional and personal life. From all these life hurdles, one message she would give our readers is, “Do not take life for granted. I am telling you this out of my own experience. I took life for granted and regretted it later. This taught me to be grateful for what I have in my hands now. Do not wait for an opportunity to find you, grab it when it shows up. Time, age and experience will teach you values that life carves, but if you let go of opportunity when it comes knocking, you will not be able to forgive yourself.” When she said she “took life for granted” she explained that she had ignored the fame she was getting, thinking that it would last. She even rejected good films and ignored the blessed aspects of her life.
Rapid Fire With Manisha Koirala
1. Proudest moment in your Bollywood career?
When one of the finest director, Mani Ratnam believed in me and my capacity and looked out for me.
2. A decision that you think you should not have made?
Rejecting a few good movies that came my way.
3. A fun memory in Bollywood that you laugh at?
Being a ghost by wearing scary makeup and draped in white cloth and scaring people on the movie sets.
4. Movie scene(s) that make you cringe?
MANY MANY MANY
5. Will we get to see the next part of Healed?
Absolutely, already working on it.
6. Bollywood or Kollywood?
Love for Bollywood but would love to work in Kollywood too!
7. Your guilty pleasure?
Cancer feeds on sugar, but that’s one thing I can’t stop. I love sweets!
8. Inspiring figure?
9. One incident in life that you would change if you had time?
MANY MANY MANY
10. Rank the following in terms of which phases taught you the greatest life lesson; Diva, Conjugal Life, Bollywood comeback, Cancer and Influencer as a writer.
b. Influencer as a writer
c. Bollywood comeback
e. Conjugal life
11. One factor how ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ differs from ‘Healed?’ SPOILER ALERT!
The ending. ‘Healed’ gives hope to people struggling while in ‘When Breath Becomes Air,’ the writer dies at the end.
11. One word to describe your experience with Buddha Air?