‘It was painful for me to come on the pe­riph­ery af­ter be­ing in the cen­tre’

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - City - - FRONT PAGE - Henna Rakheja ■ [email protected]

Af­ter a sab­bat­i­cal, an ac­tor has to prove one­self to get back in busi­ness. And if the break was due to an ill­ness, then the ac­tor’s grit and de­ter­mi­na­tion must be dou­ble to make a come­back. One such ex­am­ple is Man­isha Koirala.

Hav­ing re­turned to cin­ema af­ter bat­tling Ovar­ian Can­cer, the ac­tor has now penned her jour­ney of re­cov­ery in a book ti­tled Healed. She ad­mits that she was ini­tially in­clined to take up only lead roles af­ter her sab­bat­i­cal. Man­isha ex­plains, “Rightly so, I wanted to do the main lead; for any ac­tor who has been the cen­tre of a story, it be­comes re­ally painful to come on the pe­riph­ery. But, that is the law of the na­ture. How­ever, in to­day’s time, even in the pe­riph­eral roles, good di­rec­tors are ex­plor­ing im­por­tant char­ac­ters. For in­stance, in Sanju, no doubt Ran­bir (Kapoor) is the pro­tag­o­nist of the film but his friend also per­formed bril­liantly. In to­tal­ity, what I have un­der­stood about to­day’s cin­ema is that the film has to work. Look at Bad­haai Ho (2018). Neena Gupta plays the lead in that film; she’s 60 plus and has acted bril­liantly. So, I’m hun­gry for good di­rec­tors and good roles,” says the ac­tor who was last seen por­tray­ing Nar­gis in Sanju (2018).

So, if the pa­ram­e­ter in her first in­nings was to choose a film that had a lead­ing male co-star, in her sec­ond stint, it’s the con­tent of the story and the char­ac­ter sketch. “Ear­lier also, I al­ways got good di­rec­tors to work with; whether it was Man­soor Khan, San­jay Leela Bhansali or Mani Rat­nam. But, in to­day’s time, for sure, the script and the film-maker are the bosses,” says the ac­tor.

Her change of mind could be be­cause of the in­flu­ence that a few films had on her. “In re­cent times, I have seen four to five films which we would have never thought of [in the ’90s]. Even if these were made, no one would think that they will be a com­mer­cial suc­cess. I saw Manto, and And­had­hun and they have be­come hits in their own re­spect. In 1990s, we ran around trees, acted over the top, and had more melo­drama. To­day, cin­ema is re­al­is­tic and there are grey ar­eas of a char­ac­ter. And the au­di­ence, to­day, is more in­formed,” she says.


Man­isha Koirala

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