I felt like an alien after chemotherapy: Manisha
Actor Manisha Koirala (right), who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012, talks about the drastic change in her appearance after her treatment. Asked whether as an actor she was worried about her looks after chemotherapy, she says, “I knew about my hair loss, but was not sure of my looks. At times, after surviving a disease like cancer... people’s looks change. All I knew was that I had to mentally prepare to fight it and I got huge support from my family. After my chemotherapy, I lost my hair, eye brows and lashes. Looking at the mirror... I felt like an alien.”
However, the actor says that the fear of death was more terrifying than losing hair. “Chemo is the way to kill cancer cells, so I told myself it’s OK if I lose my hair. So, for me, the bigger fear at that time was of death,” she adds.
During her illness, many Bollywood celebrities, including Salman Khan and Gulshan Grover, reached out to her family to ask about her health. The film industry welcomed her after her cancer battle, she says.
Manisha, who’s known for her roles in films such as Bombay (1995), and 1942: A Love Story (1994), is now back to work. Sharing the story behind bagging the role of Nargis Dutt in the Sanjay Dutt biopic, she says, “I was focusing on my health, as some of my body cells were damaged. I was in Nepal then, when I got a call from Rajuji (director Rajkumar Hirani). He told me about the film and my character.” The film stars Ranbir Kapoor as Sanjay.
People’s looks change after cancer. I had to mentally prepare to fight. After my chemotherapy, I lost my hair, eye brows and lashes MANISHA KOIRALA, ACTOR