Manisha Koirala who was once one of the best actresses of her time was battling with cancer. During her struggle she shared how non of her friends from film industry were around her during this hard time of her life.
Those five years when she was fighting for her very survival were the toughest of her life, and they taught her the most. Most important, they taught her how to forgive. As Manisha takes baby steps into the industry again, she is playing Nargis Dutt in Sanjay Dutt biopic. She is ready to talk about the journey from being a star to being a nothing and then reinventing herself all over again.
Manisha kept herself away from the industry for a long time or was it the industry that left her alone? “Well actually, it was painful, the process of going through a low,” she talks about cancer, “But the thing is I was, let’s say, in some kind of denial, most of us are. But what’s gone is gone. It’s painful,” said the actor.
On how her friends, her industry left her alone at that crucial time, the actor said, “You know what I have seen not only in Bollywood but the world over is, this is a fact of life. I don’t take these things personally anymore because I have realised that it is rule of life that whatever goes up has to come down. One has to stay dignified about whatever is happening in life. Back then, I was not that mature, I used to feel bad. But now, after battling death, I don’t think one has to take it personally. We all will be dying one day, that has to happen.
The actors and actresses 10 years down the line, they will face failure. Fame will go away, people will not have interest in your work anymore. That has to happen. To overcome, all you can do is reinvent and work hard. We have seen Madonna who was at zenith of success, so it’s immature to expect that such fame would remain constant always. What one can do is to have dedication and be compassionate towards your work.”
What gave Manisha perspective was her fight against cancer. “There is nothing compared to the feeling of losing life. The moment when you are close to death is nothing but a profound experience.”
And it is that moment which made Manisha stronger. “Bad times are hard. Some of us who are fragile or ignorant, bad times can break us. That is what happened to me. But now, when I look back, I have a treasure of knowledge. So, I will say bad phase of life teaches you a lot. You will never get this kind of teaching everywhere. For a person to enjoy success and life, there has to be some level of pain and despair. To me, what became really really clear was who are my true friends — who are the people who will stand by me and who are those who won’t. Bad time teaches you to be humble in life. I learnt heavy lessons, which I would never forget as I called them as treasure.”
Ever since she has recovered, the actor is constantly doing some public speaking to add value to people’s life by sharing my experience. “I feel if I can help them in becoming aware and help them for not going through the pain I went through, one does not need to have cancer to realise worth of life, right? So that’s the reason I am trying to guide and motivate people. It’s like my duty.” Life has been moving at a fast pace for Manisha but amid all the rush, she has not been able to start her family. She says that she always dreamt about having a girl child, “I wanted to adopt since I was a kid myself. I wanted to have five children from different continents, I wasn’t mature but this is what I used to think that I would have a different family. Now, I am very practical. I will start my family and let’s see. So, I am hell bent on doing a good job of being a mother.”
Manisha says she doesn’t have any regrets about anyone in the industry, but she expected a few to stand by her but when they didn’t, she was hurt. “Actually, people have compassion for me. I was treated with a lot of love. Yes, there were people who kept their distance from me. But you know what, it’s very natural. I don’t take anything personally. I know if somebody avoided me when I was dealing with cancer is not because he does not love me or care for me but probably he can’t see me in pain. Not many have the strength to stand by you in bad times. Those who do, they are angels. I felt bad initially, especially about a few people, but then I understood that it must be uncomfortable for them. I don’t have disappointment anymore.”
She then talks about the actors from her time and and now. She She said that the actors of now are professional. “I am so proud of Alia Bhatt she is so confident, Kangana Ranaut is so talented who can carry a film on her shoulder. Deepika, she is so flawless and graceful. We weren’t that professional as much as today’s generation is. They are ready to match international standards.”