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Meet bride-to-be Manisha

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New life beckons Manisha Koirala
New life beckons Manisha Koirala

Manisha Koirala talks about her first Malayalam film and preparing for her wedding

Manisha Koirala is glowing. Why not? She's going to marry businessman Samrat Dahal next month. In Kochi, shooting for Shyamaprasad's ‘Elektra', where she plays wife to Prakash Raj and mother to Nayanthara, Manisha gushes about her love that was “instantaneous”.

Marriage on the cards

And, then she divulges a little-known fact about herself and Samrat — Samrat has joined a spiritual course at Oneness University near Chennai to understand and relate with her spiritual leanings. She says: “At a point in life, when you have success, wealth and contentment, you begin to question many other things.”

Manisha's day begins with meditation, followed by yoga and gym. Friends, family (her niece), travel, and reading make up the rest of her day, when she is not shooting. She loves cooking, especially French food. House-proud, she loves to decorate her home, and is keen about her terrace garden.

However, this Nepalese beauty is more known for her award-winning performances — “1942: A Love Story”, “Bombay”, “Dil Se”, “Khamoshi”, “Agni Sakshi”…

Ask her about the strong characters she has played, and she says: “I like characters that have substance.” Having acted in almost all genres, it is comedy she'd like to do under a good director.

Manisha has done many Tamil films, including those with stars Rajinikant and Kamal Hassan. “Both are talented, and have taught me a lot. Rajini sir is very humble despite being a huge star, and Kamal sir always suggests good books to read after he learnt I love reading.” Comparing the two film worlds she has worked in, she says Bollywood has now turned professional like the industry in the south. Punctuality has come on the sets. And, that the whole energy of filmmaking is same even in the Nepal film industry.

Having recently done a Nepalese film she opines that most Nepal film directors make copies of bad Bollywood films — something that drew flak when she pointed it out. All for offbeat films and good stories, Manisha says that being a jury member on many of the international film festivals has given her exposure to world cinema.

And, though Indian cinema is on a par, there is a lot one can do to encourage good films, she says. So what keeps us back? “Unfortunately, the whole business of cinema takes the upper hand over the creative aspect.”

Support parallel cinema

And, the remedy? “We need to come out, and support the creative directors even if there is no money in it. We see this in Hollywood. They support quality parallel cinema.”

Coming from Nepal's first political family, she has kept away from politics. Camera, cinema and acting are her first love, she says, disclosing that she wanted to become a doctor at one point of time. Nepal beckons her now, and after her wedding she plans to spend more time there.

Having actively worked with UNICEF and UNFPA as their Goodwill Ambassador, Manisha plans to get back to social work, especially those involving children. She attended the Gay Parade and the first Queer Film Festival, championing their rights. “Lots of my friends are gays,” she says. Also, along with the whole team of ‘I AM' of Onir, she came out in their support.

Recently Manisha produced “Paisa Vasool”, but says she'll a 100 times before she produces another film! “An actor's job is far easier. You are stress-free after your work is done, but a producer's job never ends.”

With the wedding on the cards, will acting take a backseat? “I want to focus on my family, but I'll also continue working on one or two projects. I'd be like any other working woman, who has a family and a job!”

With great hits to her credit is she contented? “I'll act till my dying day. There is so much to do. Look at Meryl Streep, she amazes me; nothing stops her. I'd like to age gracefully, do those roles, and make an impact as an actor. My best is yet to come.”

PRIYADERSHINI S.

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