Manisha Koirala: Web world doesn't typecast an actor

Updated: Mar 29, 2020, 09:48 IST | Shaheen Parkar | Mumbai

As she headlines web film Maska, Manisha Koirala on why she is enjoying the digital medium more than the big screen

Manisha Koirala and Prit Kamani in Maska
Manisha Koirala and Prit Kamani in Maska

Five months shy of turning 50, Manisha Koirala finds herself busier than usual. "I am grateful that I am getting offers at this stage," says Koirala, who—as a leading lady in the late'90s—had witnessed from close quarters how Bollywood could, unfortunately, be ageist when it came to female actors. However, with the digital entertainment boom and a new wave of cinema on the rise, she acknowledges that it is a good time for female actors.

If her past outings are any indication, it is evident that she has found her groove in the digital world. Her latest release, Neeraj Udhwani's Maska, dropped on Netflix over the weekend. Known to dive deep into her characters, Koirala enjoyed the process of playing a Parsi woman, who readies to pass on the family legacy—an Irani café—to her son. "She's funny, eccentric and traditional. The role provided me an opportunity to do something I had not done before. I had to pick up the strong accent [that] Parsis [employ]. I also visited the various Parsi baugs in the city to observe the community."

Teaming up with youngsters, Prit Kamani and Shirley Sethia, the actor says, "Their energy is infectious."

Koirala began her tryst with the web world with the anthology, Lust Stories, in which she essayed a banker having an extramarital affair with her husband's close friend. She is set to reunite with director Dibakar Banerjee for his upcoming Netflix film, Freedom. While she is having a field day choosing roles for OTT projects, her appearances in Bollywood films have been few and far between. Her last memorable role on the big screen was in Ranbir Kapoor starrer Sanju (2018).

"I had reservations about [playing mother to Kapoor] as I thought I would be offered only mummy roles thereafter. But thankfully, the web world does not typecast an actor. I want to break the mould. I call myself a hungry actor, and digital films are providing varied roles. What more could I ask for?"

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