Can three important things in life — close relationship (spouse, parent, child, and friend), career and health crumble at the same time? Yes, it happens and it has happened in the life of Bollywood actress Manisha Koirala.
“When things are going down and we don’t acknowledge it, we are in denial. In fearful and ignorant stage, we make wrong decisions based on fear and ego. That one mistake leads to another mistake,” Dil Se actor shares in an interview with The Himalayan Times. Explaining of her life changing one phase, she adds, “The whole thing was crumbling.”
Koirala, a big name in Bollywood, has done more than 70 films. 1942 Love Story, Agni Sakshi, Bombay, Dil Se, Khamoshi: The Musical are some of her films, that have given her name and fame.
When things started falling apart, 45-year-old Koirala was on “top of my game — did some of my best films with best directors and actors, won multiple awards, was loved by the critics and box office”.
But little did she know that life had planned something else while she was on the most successful and enjoyable ride. And the ride had to stop.
“What was happening was that a flop film was leading me to another flop film, and it was leading me to make wrong decision to do bad films,” Koirala elaborates. Since she was in denial, her health was also ignored and “it was impacting my personal space — meaning I had wrong company and relationships. I was in the act of spiral downward journey till I hit the rock bottom. My marriage failed and I was diagnosed with cancer within a short span ”.
Koirala was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. Like any other person, she was scared “to die”. However, she took it in her stride and changed her life. She “acknowledged the situation, owned up my mistakes and moved on”.
During this time, she went into deep introspective stage, valuing her life — “What did I do with my time and life? What different would I do if I get a second chance? How differently would I live?”
When she got that second chance, she made a promise to herself to “honour life — the time that I have is limited and precious”. So, now she lives by that promise.
Koirala has restored her three important things back. “I have now a beautiful bond with my family as I have realised how important they are to me. In the time of crisis, they were the ones who stood by me and they were my friends. So the bond is much deeper,” she expresses about her important things.
“Earlier I had thousands of friends. Now I have a very few and I spend quality time with them. My friendship is stronger and better because I value them.”
Koirala is an actor and her work has always been important to her. The actress, who is now shooting for Bollywood film Dear Maya, is “choosing films thoughtfully and carefully — the one that would challenge me and help me grow as an actor”. She loves cinema and wants to grow as an artiste with every film she does. And Koirala wants to do those roles that can give her satisfaction.
When it comes to her health, she says, “I am in good health.” Living a fulfilled life, she lives with clear goals in the “bigger picture” to which she informs, “My goal is to have a good relation with my family members. As an actor, I want to do something challenging that I have not done before…”
The Nepali actress known for her works in Indian cinema is also the UNFPA Nepal Goodwill Ambassador and social activist. After introspection post her cancer battle, she now wants to “help big or small”. Be it by sharing her inspiring story or by listening to people’s problems or by trying to be sensitive to people who are around her. Along with her career, these things are important to Koirala.
And she finds time for them, as “I am clear that these are things in my life which are important for me”. Moreover, “I am pretty satisfied,” with the things that are happening in her life.
Koirala is one of the popular actresses of Hindi film industry. She needs no introduction.
In this journey, she has had her ups and downs. But she shares, “I got the opportunity to work in Bollywood and it is a blessing for me. I feel blessed and great that I have had the opportunity.”
Meanwhile, she is taking the opportunity further. The best thing about being a part of Bollywood is that fact that “I can fulfil my satisfaction as an actor as well as use this platform to do something better for other people. People know me as a Bollywood actor. I can use that status and convey the right messages to people.”
She started the Bollywood journey in 1991 with Saudagar and she wants to work till she is in her 80s. Meanwhile, “I am in my late 40s. I will not be running around the trees in Bollywood songs which I did when I was in 20s. And obviously I will be doing the roles that suit my age.”
She has realised that her heath is of utmost importance and she is working to be fit.
“I am a freak in terms of understanding how to make a good health,” she states, which is why she goes meeting different doctors and ayurvedic experts.
And how does she keep herself fit and healthy?
“I find half-an-hour or 45 minutes every day to exercise. As I get bored with one thing, I sometimes go gym, walk, cycle, or do yoga. It is a combination of whatever works,” she answers.
Alongside being physically active, she follows good balanced diet. And she also meditates to stay calm
Book, movies, direction — Koirala has got her hands full with different endeavours.
“I am trying to work on my book — probably about the life lessons I have learnt and my cancer journey. Hopefully, if time permits I will work on the first draft of my script (which is just a concept), I want to direct a film. I will also be acting in a new film that has been offered to me. I like that role, but I have not finalised it yet,” the actress says without giving away much details.
“I am doing multiple things,” she adds and she knows she has enough time to do so.
– The Himalayan Times