Lisa Ray calls herself a cancer graduate. The actor, whose last Bollywood film was Deepa Mehta’s Water (2005), will start shooting for a film in Mumbai this November. “I’m involved in a project here in India that I will be shooting shortly. I can’t reveal too much right now, but I will be back in Mumbai from November onwards, which is when the work will start,” says Ray, adding that back in Canada, she is involved in a TV show.
About a year ago, the actor-model was diagnosed with a rare form of terminal cancer called multiple myeloma. Over the next few months, she underwent painful chemotherapy, and in April 2010, she was declared cancer-free.
Commenting on reports of her being offered a place in the Bigg Boss house, she says, “Not just that, I received a lot of offers after the news of my treatment came out. But I wanted to wait for the next round. Sometimes it’s just a matter of timing. Also, I wouldn’t have been able to give it time.”
Ray, who broke the news of her condition on her blog in early 2009, says it was her honesty that helped her get through the treatment. “Because I chose to share my experience, people came forth and supported me. It was the idea of becoming a success story and helping someone through it that became compelling for me. It gave me a sense of purpose,” she says, adding, “Even now, I have had wonderful interactions with people. I recently met Aamir (Khan) and Kiran (Rao) at the Toronto Film Festival. They were so warm and good. Priyanka (Chopra) also expressed a lot of support.”
Primarily cured by stem cell transplant therapy, Ray is currently in the city to promote the regenerative science at the Indian Stem Cell Conclave and Exhibition 2010. “After I got this second chance at life, I developed a keen interest in this technology. Spreading awareness about it is part of my professional repertoire now,” says the actor, who is still coming to terms with her new life and with the fact that she will never be unconditionally cured. She says, “I don’t understand every way that I have changed in, and I don’t intend on analysing it. As for cancer and the uncertainty, I could get hit by a bus while crossing the road. Similarly the cancer may or may not return, all I am doing is living every second of this healthy life. Ingrid Bergman, I think, once said, ‘The key to happiness is good health and a short memory’. Trust me, it’s true.”