Manisha Koirala, born on August 16, 1970, belongs to one of the prominent political families in Nepal. Though many in her family are actively involved in politics, Manisha Koirala did not aspire to do the same. She spent her early life in Varanasi at her maternal grandmother's home for some years and later moved to Delhi and Mumbai. (All photos/mid-day archives)
Manisha started off as a model and made her Bollywood debut with Saudagar (1991). However, very few know that Manisha Koirala had made her acting debut in 1989 with Pheri Bhetaula, a Nepali movie.
After Saudagar, Manisha starred in numerous Hindi films, though her acting skills were constantly panned by critics, until, in 1994, she was lauded for her role in Vidhu Vinod Chopra's love saga 1942: A Love Story.
In 1995, Manisha Koirala starred in Mani Ratnam's Tamil drama Bombay (1995). The film truly took her career forward, as the film was critically acclaimed and commercially a huge success.
Manisha Koirala went on to establish herself as one of the leading actresses with films such as Yalgaar, Akele Hum Akele Tum, Agni Sakshi, Gupt, Kachche Dhaage and Mann.
Manisha Koirala was lauded for her performance in films such as Khamoshi: The Musical, Dil Se.., Lajja, Company and Escape from Taliban.
In Picture: Manisha Koirala with her brother Siddharth. She launched him in Bollywood in a film titled Anwar, that released in 2007. Unfortunately, his film career never took off and he returned to Nepal and joined politics. Siddharth is now married and has a daughter.
In 2010, Manisha Koirala married a Nepali businessman Samrat Dahal. The couple apparently met through Facebook. However, the marriage did not last for long and they divorced in 2012. In picture: Manisha Koirala with Tabu.
Manisha Koirala said in an interview that she had a dreamy idea about marriage and blames herself for her short-lived marriage with Dahal. She said, "I had a dreamy idea of marriage. If you are in a bad relationship then it's better to separate. There is no bitterness. I take full responsibility of hurrying up and wanting to get married and then realising I am not meant for this. There is no fault from other side, the fault is mine."
Post her divorce, Manisha Koirala got the shock of her life when she was reportedly diagnosed with ovarian cancer. However, the actress beat cancer after years of treatment in India and the USA. In picture: Manisha Koirala partying with her ex-boyfriend London based Nigerian businessman, Cecil Anthony.
Talking about the new phase of her life, Manisha Koirala, in an old interview with mid-day said, "I am grateful for a new lease of life. My battle with cancer opened my eyes to several things. In the last five years, I had a lot of time to introspect. I consider myself in a better space now. I don't want to look back. I have had my bad times. I have had heartbreaks, low phases and gone off track, but it has been a learning phase. I am content with life and have made peace with many things including my relationship with my parents." In picture: Manisha with Cecil Anthony.
Post her cancer struggle, Manisha Koirala made a comeback in Bollywood with Ram Gopal Varma's Bhoot Returns in 2012 and psychological thriller Chehere: A Modern Day Classic along with Jackie Shroff, that released in 2015. However, both the films made no mark at the Box Office. In picture: Manisha Koirala with her ex-boyfriend DJ Whosane aka Hussain Babai.
DJ Whosane and Manisha Koirala, reportedly, even moved in together. However, Manisha called it quits, when things went sour between the two.
Manisha Koirala says she is no longer looking for romantic love. "Maybe the man-woman love is not destined to happen for me. Fine. I'd rather accept this sad truth of my life rather than fall into the wrong relationship again. I won't allow any man to bring me down, ever. Whether it is my career or my personal life, I can't afford to make wrong moves at this stage when God has given me a second chance," said Manisha. In picture: Gulshan Grover, Manisha Koirala and Shabana Azmi at Holi party in the late 2000s.
Her 40s have been eventful and enlightening, as Manisha Koirala says contrary to the common perception that middle-aged female actors get less work in Bollywood, she felt liberated more than ever. "I think I am more liberated as an artiste in my late 40s. I was having a conversation with Shabana Azmiji where she was saying, 'As an actress and as a woman, we always want to look good. How did you become so carefree?' I think the greedy actor in me takes over at times. Being a woman, I want to look pretty in every phase of my life... but I also love acting. If I have to sacrifice my vanity for a character that I am excited to play, I am ready," Manisha told mid-day. In picture: A still from the latest Netflix show Lust Stories.
Being an actress, Manisha did get worried about her look after chemotherapy. "I knew about my hair loss, but was not sure of my look. At times, after surviving from a disease like cancer... people's look changes. All I knew was that I had to mentally prepare to fight it and I got a huge support from my family. After my chemotherapy, I lost my hair, eye brows and lashes. Looking at the mirror... I felt like an alien," Manisha told in an old interview with mid-day.
Last seen in Sanjay Dutt's biopic - Sanju, where she played the role of Nargis Dutt, Manisha Koirala will be next seen in another Netflix Original film Maska. Directed by Neeraj Udhwani, Maska will also feature Shirley Setia, Prit Kamani and Nikita Dutta.
We wish the lovely actress a very happy birthday. May you continue to inspire more lives ahead!
Manisha Koirala, who turns 49, has completed 28 years in the Bollywood film industry in 2019. We take a look at her journey so far, through some unseen pictures of the Khamoshi actress
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