Manisha Koirala is a Nepalese actress known for her work in Indian cinema, as well as a UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador and social activist
Manisha Koirala is a Nepalese actress known for her work in Indian cinema, as well as a UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador and social activist. Manisha was born in the Nepali Koirala family on August 16, 1970. Her dad, B.P. Koirala, was Nepal's Prime Minister before her birth, while two of her paternal grandfather's brothers, Girja Prasad Koirala, and M.P. Koirala were also Nepali Prime Ministers during the 1990s.
Manisha grew up with her paternal grandmother in Varanasi, India. She studied in Vasant Kanya Mahavidhyalay. Then she re-located to New Delhi and was enrolled in Army Public School. After completing her school, Manisha had planned to study medicine and become a doctor.
Instead of becoming a doctor, fate led her to modeling, and then onto the tinsel screen in Nepal in a 1989 movie 'Pheri Betaula'. She then re-located to Bombay and debuted in a Bollywood movie titled 'First Love Letter' which was released in 1991.
Manisha has won five awards for her performance in 'Bombay', 'Khamoshi: The Musical'(two awards), 'Company', and 'Escape from Taliban'.
She has obtained a Diploma in Film Making from New York, U.S.A., and is a member of the Independent Film-Makers Society. She is also the goodwill ambassador on U.N.F.P.A.. She is actively involved in bettering the status of women, women's rights, prevention of violence against women, as well as in the active prevention human trafficking, especially Nepali women, who are abducted and sold as prostitutes. She is well versed in the Bharatnatyam and Manipuri dance forms.
Manisha was engaged to Christpin Conroy,former Australian ambassador to Nepal in 2001 but they later broke up. In 2010 she married a Nepali businessman Samrat Dahal in a traditional ceremony in KathmanduShe studied at Army Public School, Dhaula Kuan, New Delhi and Vasant Kanya Mahavidhyalaya (VKM) Varanasi. She lived with her grandmother in Varanasi during her studies. Her ambition was to be a doctor, but a modelling stint opened a career path into Bollywood.
Her brother Siddharth Koirala is also an actor, and collaborated with her once in the film Anwar.
In 2004, she returned from New York after receiving a diploma in filmmaking. She became a member of an independent documentary filmmaker's society.
Her first film was Pheri Bhetaula (We shall meet again), a Nepali movie released in early 1989. Her first Hindi movie was Subhash Ghai's Saudagar in 1991. The film proved to be a good beginning, as it was the biggest hit of the year.
She starred in a number of unsuccessful films during 1992-1993 until Vidhu Vinod Chopra's love saga 1942: A Love Story (1994) and Mani Ratnam's Tamil drama Bombay (1995) came out. Her performance in the latter was particularly appreciated and won her the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Performance. She was also seen in more commercial films, such as Mansoor Khan's romantic musical Akele Hum Akele Tum (1995) opposite Aamir Khan. Her role of Kiran, an ignored wife who leaves her husband and child in order to fulfill her singing talent and subsequently becomes a popular star, earned her a Filmfare nomination for Best Actress.
Koirala had a particularly successful year in 1996. She received positive reviews for her performance in the drama Agni Sakshi, where she played the role of a battered wife on the run from her mentally sick husband, played by Nana Patekar. The film became one of the biggest hits of that year at the Indian box office. Later that year, she acted in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's directorial debut, Khamoshi: The Musical. The film saw her playing the role of Annie, a caring daughter to deaf parents. Her performance was highly acclaimed,and won her a second consecutive Filmfare Best Performer Award, as well as a Star Screen Award for Best Actress. One critic from Channel 4 wrote, "Koirala... demonstrates the full range of her acting ability, rather than playing against it as she has had to do in more traditional films. The scene where she shouts at her father through the door, screaming and using sign language even though she knows he can neither see nor hear her, is extremely powerful"
One year later in 1997, she played the leading role alongside Kajol and Bobby Deol in the thriller Gupt: The Hidden Truth. The film became one of the biggest hits of the year.[
Manisha Koirala from Gupt: The Hidden Truth (1997)
She went to collaborate once again with Mani Ratnam, and starred in his award-winning film Dil Se (1998) opposite Shahrukh Khan. Her role received similarly good reviews, and earned her several award nominations. Despite performing poorly at the box office in India, the film proved to be a hit overseas.
Success followed for Koirala, and she went on to act in several critically and commercially successful projects. in 1999, she starred in the moderately successful Kachche Dhaage (1999), which was followed by six more releases, the most notable of them being Indra Kumar's drama Mann. She played the role of a traffic accident victim in the film, which entered into the top five highest grossing films of the year. Her performance in the film won her favorable reviews. Film critic M. Ali Ikram wrote about her performance, "If there is respite for Manisha's innumerable fans of late, this flick is it. We may not care about hits and flops, but it is painful to watch this acting virtuoso in the innumerable side roles she has been seen in of late. Indra Kumar's decision to cast Manisha here, is a case of perfect casting, and she never lets him or the audience down. This lady is truly the Meena Kumari of her generation. It is great fun watching Manisha and Aamir Khan's perfect chemistry opposite one another. The film's climax has both stars permanently molding a spot for themselves in Bollywood history, and it will have you shedding tears by the bucketful."
In 2001, she starred in the drama Grahan opposite Jackie Shroff. Her portrayal of a rape victim in the film who quests for justice was appreciated, but the film was a major commercial failure. She next played the main protagonist in Rajkumar Santoshi's drama Lajja along with an ensemble cast that included Rekha, Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit. The film received a positive reception from critics, and Koirala's performance was particularly praised.
In 2002, she starred opposite Ajay Devgan in Ram Gopal Verma's Company. The film was a critical success, as was Koirala's performance in it, and she won her third Filmfare Best Performer Award. Critic Alok Kumar wrote about her performance, "Manisha Koirala has yet another solid performance to add to her already overflowing portfolio of excellent roles. She has proved herself once again with a powerful and sensitive performance. She holds her own in every scene she's in and is amazing in her emotional scenes, displaying confidence and maturity. Her new look suits her well. Here's a girl who can really act."
After years of success, in 2003 Koirala left the mainstream cinema. She was seen in several low budget films, yet not less challenging roles. She ventured into strong woman-oriented films in 2003, such as Escape From Taliban which won her the BFJA Best Actress Award. She then played the main protagonist in the movie Market where she enacted a role of a prostitute, portraying a whole life story.
After receiving a diploma in filmmaking, she produced the small-budget caper-comedy Paisa Vasool (2004) in which she starred along with Sushmita Sen; this was probably the first ever chick-flick in Indian cinema in that it did not have a male lead nor a love story.
Overall, Koirala starred as the leading role in 6 high-budget, successful Tamil movies: Bombay (1994) co-starring Arvind Swamy, Indian (1996) co-starring Kamal Hassan, Mudhalvan (1999) co-starring Arjun, Aalavandhan (2001) co-starring Kamal Hassan, Baba (2002) co-starring Rajnikanth and Mumbai Express (2005) co-starring Kamal Hassan.
Since then, She has played supporting roles in various unsuccessful films, some of which being well received by critics, such as the thriller Tum - A Dangerous Obsession (2005), and the horror film Anjaane - The Unknown (2006).
Koirala's only release of 2007 was Anwar, in which she played a supporting role. In 2008, she made her comeback to films, with her first leading role since Mumbai Express, in Tulsi, opposite Irrfan Khan. Although pre-release her comeback was described by the media as "shocking", and the film suffered from poor marketing, her performance as Tulsi, a young homemaker diagnosed with blood cancer, was well received. Taran Adarsh from indiaFM wrote, "Manisha Koirala sinks her teeth in this role and delivers a fine performance.She next starred in Sirf, a movie about four couples from different strata of life, which portrays the lifestyle of people in metro. The film, which was released without any notice or publicity, was a major critical failure and faced a low box office opening, with most shows being cancelled out due to its poor critical response.
Ek Chotisi Love Story
In 2002, Manisha accused the director of the film Ek Chotisi Love Story Shashilal Nair of using Koirala's body double to shoot some love scenes in the film and portraying her in bad light by shooting obscene postures using another actress in her place, without Manisha's approval to do so. Koirala required from Nair to re-shoot these scenes because the double's body did not match her physique and required that these scenes be deleted from the film. She later claimed that Nair had stipulated to re-shoot the scenes only if she agrees to bear half the expenses.
I always believed in Shashi. I did this film out of sheer goodwill. I had nothing to gain from it financially as I did the film for free. I also gave him all the dates immediately. It was his first chance to direct a film in four years. He has a family to support and I couldn't bear to see a friend in hardship.
Koirala decided to sue Nair and dragged him to court. She has moved the court against him, and objected to the alleged nudity and obscene postures, and pleaded that these scenes be deleted from the film, saying she had not performed in these scenes and that Nair had made use of another actress for this. Finally, the court decided to stay the release of the film. Another controversy occurred in February 2006, when a wake of protests by section of people following a media report claimed Koirala had named her pet dog after a revered Muslim figure, which caused to demonstrations against her. Koirala was provided police security to prevent any problem. In the following days, The accusations continued. However, Koirala denied the accusations and the Police said the actress had no pet at all. Now the actress has become a crusader for those who suffer from cancer by creating awareness about the disease.
“There is a big psychological pressure when you have cancer. There is always this fear of the disease coming back. If my position of being a celebrity helps the cause, I would surely do my bit.
“Fear exists every day of my life, but that has never stopped me from facing my demons. I want the cancer survivors, especially the women to stare back and ‘own up’ rather than ‘give up’. Let us not make cancer a life and death situation,” Manisha said.
The actress shared that she is writing a book on her life and has also developed a keen interest in painting.
“I am working on my book that will detail the crucial events in my life, and most importantly what I have taken from those events. It will be about how I see life now,” she said. “I am also working on my NGO and have discovered the joy of painting.”
Manisha, who hails from Nepal made her debut in Bollywood with 1991 film ‘Saudagar’ and went on to work with directors like Mani Ratnam, Ram Gopal Varma, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Raj Kumar Santoshi.
Now that she is back in Mumbai post her US treatment, the actress is game for more offers, provided she gets powerful roles.
“I love cinema. Acting is not just a pursuit for me, so I want the kind of work that can utilise that capacity in me. I do not want to end up disappointing my fans,” Manisha said, adding she is reading scripts but nothing substantial has come so far.
Manisha said she was ready to work on the small screen if she got challenging offers.
Publish Date June 9 2016