New Delhi, January 4 (Indian Express): Mumbai, Manisha Koirala, who has won a tough battle against ovarian cancer, feels the disease came into her life as a gift. She believes her vision is now sharper, her mind is now clearer and her perspective is now realigned because of it, reported The Indian Express.
As she completes six years of being cancer-free, the 90s superstar opened up about her journey and the lessons she learnt along the way in her upcoming memoir Healed: How Cancer Gave Me a New Life.
Koirala says her book is a result of intense soul-searching and she has plunged deep into a dark, bottomless pit of painful memories to weave out a story.
“It has taken a lot of courage to confront and relive my experiences. But I needed to do so in order to become a true storyteller for the readers’ sake as well as my own,” she said.
Koirala was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. “The poor lifestyle I had been leading made my body susceptible to diseases. Had it not been cancer, some other malady would have struck me. In hindsight, on a dark, lonely night, I still wonder what it could have been and whether it would have been better or worse,” she writes in the book. “I think cancer came into my life as a gift. My vision is sharper, my mind clearer, my perspective realigned. I have succeeded in transforming my passive-aggressive anger and anxiety into more peaceful expressions.”
Born into the prominent Koirala family in Nepal, Manisha made her Bollywood debut with Saudagar in 1991 and went on to act in films like 1942: A Love Story, Akele Hum Akele Tum, Bombay, Khamoshi: The Musical, Dil Se, Mann, Lajja and Company. She took a break from acting in 2012 and returned five years later with roles in Dear Maya, Lust Stories and Sanju.
Of course, the comeback has not been easy. “At first, it was difficult for me to take on the role of a character artist as I had been used to playing the heroine. Then I saw the blessing in this. Having plunged into the depths of my emotions, I could now express the intricate complexities, deeper nuances and more profound layers of each character,” Koirala adds.
The actor looks back at the period just after her foray into films with a “lot of regret and sadness.” At that time, Koirala was just 19 and not ready to handle the glitz and glam of Mumbai. “Its unfamiliarity and expanse scared me. For a young, unexposed Nepalese girl, Bollywood was a terrifying experience. Unsure of how I should be behaving and interacting on the film set, I hid myself behind books. They protected me from my fear of interacting with everyone who seemed to be so sure of themselves,” she says.
She then turned to alcohol to help her cope. “Alcohol came to my rescue. I loved the feeling of confidence it gave me, loosening me up, wiping out my inhibitions. Fortified by drinks, my shyness disappeared and I became quite at ease while socialising. Emboldened, I took to drinking more and more…”
Fortunately, Koirala has emerged victorious from all the dark phases of her life so far.