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Head­ship breaks peo­ple but af­ter de­feat­ing can­cer, Khamoshi ac­tor Man­isha Koirala says, “Can­cer has come to me as a gift. It has made me em­brace life. I was talk­ing to one of my gu­rus and he said some­thing really nice: “Just be­come ‘sak­shibaav’ (wit­ness) to ev­ery­thing that is hap­pen­ing around you. As you em­brace good as­pects of life be watch­ful and em­brace hard­ship, trauma and stress of life as they are also part of life.”

Dur­ing her stay in Luc­know for the shoot of Sanjay Dutt star­rer Prasthaanam, she fur­ther tells HT City, “Life is per­fect only on so­cial me­dia. I have come back from the jaws of death and re­alised that ev­ery­thing is tran­sient; so do you best, en­joy life and mo­ment as this will also go. It’s very lib­er­at­ing. And I try and fol­low that. Still, I am hum­ble enough to un­der­stand that when death knocks I will have to say good­bye. I live by that.”

“Ear­lier, I was not able to live my life with dig­nity. I had had got so much good op­por­tu­nity in life but used to get dis­suaded by small things (hard­ships) and used to for­got the good that had hap­pened and used to get de­pressed in that pain. It was so stupid. To­day, if my heart breaks I will cry but then I know that this too will pass.”


She shares a few lessons learnt from it. “It has taught me many things; among them is re­al­iza­tion of death. It is really im­por­tant know­ing that one day I am go­ing to die. It is the most pow­er­ful les­son I was taught. It made me re­al­ize that I have to live life fully – for me it’s fam­ily, work, health, cause etc. So, I am more mind­ful now.”

The ac­tor says that she is can­cer free since 2013 and with­out any treat­ment. “And an­other thing I learnt is I should be very grate­ful that I had the op­por­tu­nity to fight and come out of it and live my life again as life was slip­ping by. I don’t for­get that I was at death’s doorstep and I don’t take things for granted. The fact is that when you fall ill, not too many peo­ple come for­ward as all are busy in life. So I try to do some­thing or other to help peo­ple, causes, char­ity etc. I as­so­ciate with some cause ev­ery year in my ca­pac­ity for can­cer aware­ness, fund rais­ing, give pa­tients hope and give mo­ti­va­tional talks.”


The Dil Se, 1942 A Love Story and Bom­bay star says, “I am a worka­holic, so I am used to take in a lot. But now I take it bit easy – be with fam­ily, go back to Nepal, work to­ward can­cer aware­ness, do so­cial ac­tiv­ity and be by the side of na­ture. I have to be mind­ful of work as films and web se­ries of­fer keep com­ing, which cer­tainly dis­tracts. So, I take projects which gives me breather space. Bal­ance my time — lit­tle work, lit­tle play.”

On her wishlist is spend­ing three month va­ca­tion in a hut on scenic hills read­ing Nis­ar­gadutt Ma­haraj’s book I Am That.


“When Ra­jji (Ra­jku­mar Hi­rani) of­fered the film I was maha thrilled but then I was ner­vous that it’s Nar­gis Dut­tji’s role and also play­ing Ran­bir’s (Kapoor) mother in the film. I even thought of po­litely say­ing no to the role but when I met him I de­cided that I have to work with him and I am very happy that I did. He says beau­ti­ful things about life in so en­ter­tain­ing man­ner with­out any bashan and all.”

Were you ap­pre­hen­sive play­ing Ran­bir’s mother? “It’s a very strange sit­u­a­tion for a fe­male ac­tor. When we are very young, we are paired op­po­site much older he­roes. And, mo­ment we en­ter into 40s, we are sud­denly moth­ers of young he­roes. I feared I would be type­cast but it was a silly few. For an ac­tor to play a le­gendary fig­ure of Nar­gisji is a huge gift. To be hon­est, I was ap­pre­hen­sive but thank­fully I did not fall in it. Also, very happy to work with Ran­bir!”


“I and Baba (Sanjay Dutt) have done many movies to­gether since the be­gin­ning of my ca­reer.

I play his wife which is quiet in­ter­est­ing and pow­er­ful. It’s a very in­tense fam­ily drama in po­lit­i­cal back­drop. I have two sons (played by Ali Fazal and Satya­jeet) and a daugh­ter.”

On work­ing with him af­ter Baaghi, Yal­gaar, Khauff and Meb­hooba she says, “He is really fab and is king of heart. His hard­ship in life has only made him a bet­ter ac­tor be­cause some­times you go through the bot­tom of life and come out with some great qual­i­ties which has made him un­break­able and deeper person.”


Ac­tor Man­isha Koirala in Luc­know

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