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Whatever we get free, we don’t value, says Manisha Koirala

EMBRACING LIFE Manisha Koirala

EMBRACING LIFE Manisha Koirala   | Photo Credit: G. RAMAKRISHNA

As Manisha Koirala returns with a challenging character in Dear Maya, the actor talks about lessons learnt from her battle with cancer

Effervescence and a smirk on countenance were characteristics one associated with Manisha Koirala. Post-cancer, the actress is back with a hard hitting film Dear Maya, where as Maya Devi she looks like a pale shadow of her former bubbly self as she fights a solitary battle against depression and loveless life.

“For this role, I had to understand the psychology of the character because Maya Devi is so unusual and so far from me. So I inundated Sunaina Bhatnagar (director) with a range of queries such as what kind of environment Maya Devi had in her childhood or growing up years that she becomes so fearful of life and people. Once I got a hang of the psychology of the character, it became easier to enact the role. Then the next step was how would she be looking, clothes, facial expression and body language,” says Manisha, delineating how she prepared for the character.

According to her comparisons between the lively actress and docile Maya Devi are non existent. “I don’t think there is similarity between Maya and me. The message is to be hopeful, never give up and say yes to life. This is also the fundamental principle of my life. I believe as humans we must enjoy our life and live to the fullest,” says Manisha.

This film gives Manisha, who has had the distinction of working with illustrious filmmakers like Mani Ratnam and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, another opportunity to push the envelope. “I get excited whenever I get to play out-of-the-box characters. Here was a chance to play this unusual character who lives in an old world house. So I just embraced it. As actors, we are hungry for meaningful roles. It is a young team, where everyone is focussed and exude so much energy,” says Manisha, ready with her second innings in Bollywood.

Manisha Koirala at the event in Delhi

Manisha Koirala at the event in Delhi  

Debutant director Sunaina Bhatnagar – who even wrote the script bearing Manisha in mind – says: “It is about a lady in whose childhood some incidents occurred which makes her feel that nobody loves her. Her mother ran away; there is toxic environment at home. Manisha is diametrically opposite to this character but she has not only done 1942 A Love Story but also shown mysteriousness and enigma in films like Dil Se. She can pull off any kind of role. For me, it was more of bringing alive her Dil Se side.”

She also took Manisha for a month long workshop where she worked on how to make Maya Devi impactful on screen.

Describing life as a gift, Manisha, a survivor who bravely underwent chemotherapy and fought cancer, says: “Whatever we get free, we don’t value. We must learn to enjoy and honour our lives. Therefore we need to keep ourselves happy as well as those around us. All good things have to finally come to an end so we have to make the best use of every opportunity. We have to live life to the fullest. Also in life what we aspire doesn’t always materialise. So we have to deal with unexpected situations and learn lessons which can enhance our lives.”

Many feel she got bored of films. Manisha denies, “Films are a part of my life. Twenty five years of my life I have spent working in movies and enjoyed my cinematic journey.” She is now preparing to play Nargis in Rajkumar Hirani’s biopic of Sanjay Dutt. Not ready to disclose anything, Manisha says Hirani has done his homework well.

Countering challenges

On how she has been dealing with hurdles in her personal and professional life, Manisha says: “Situations can be tough but if you have certain programming and discipline which you can use, life becomes much more easier. If this happens, one doesn’t get bogged down by challenges life throws at us. Each and every experience has enriched and humbled me.

A picture of pragmatism, Manisha, who has become a motivational speaker lately, says she is always brimming with hope and positivity. “I know a septuagenarian lady who has tied the knot now,” says the actress, who recently separated from her businessman husband.

“There is always hope, not just with marriage but other things in life as well. If we want something in our life, we can make our dreams come true. I am a firm believer in this philosophy.”

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 10:41:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/whatever-we-get-free-we-dont-value/article18721886.ece

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