When we meet at her home, Manisha Koirala is still recovering from a late night wrap of The Kapil Sharma Show, which she took part in to promote her upcoming drama, Dear Maya. Best known for her work in the 1990s, including films such as Bombay, 1942 A Love Story and Dil Se, she realises that, these days, “promoting a film is equally important”, even more so if yours is a small, independent film directed by a first-time director—in this case,
Sunaina Bhatnagar. “I feel it is all a little overwhelming,” Koirala says with a smile. “But I know that I’d better buck up and move according to the tide. I’m learning.”
This year will be Koirala’s most prolific since she was cleared of cancer three years ago. Her releases begin with Dear Maya, opening on
June 2, in which she plays a traumatised, reclusive woman who avoids all human contact. “She feels unloved and unworthy, and is very scared,” says Koirala of the character she plays. But all of that begins to change when she begins receiving anonymous love letters.
Dear Maya aside, Koirala’s work in 2017 also includes a special appearance as Nargis Dutt in the Rajkumar Hiranidirected Sanjay Dutt biopic, which will be released later this year. She also recently shot for a Dibakar Banerjee short, for part two of Bombay Talkies. “I am choosy about my work,” says Koirala, who thanked casting director Mukesh Chhabra for bringing the first two projects to her. “I also don’t want to take on too much work.”
That’s because her health takes precedence now. Yoga and meditation are an integral part of Koirala’s life. She’s already planning holidays to Badrinath, Kedarnath and Kailash with her spiritually-inclined friends. Even her daily routine these days is not all that Bollywood-friendly. “I sleep by 10 pm and wake up by 6 am,” she says. However, she is willing to bend the rules occasionally. Filming for Banerjee’s short, for instance, was done through the night. “If it’s really required, I am willing to push myself beyond my limits,” she says. “I’m hungry for good roles. I want to excel and raise my bar.”
“I’mchoosy aboutmywork, butI’malso hungryforgood roles.Iwantto excel”