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Embrace hardship, stress. They too are part of life: Manisha Koirala

“I have come back from the jaws of death and realised that everything is transient; so do you best, enjoy life and moment as this will also go. It’s very liberating. And I try and follow that. Still, I am humble enough to understand that when death knocks I will have to say goodbye. I live by that.”

lucknow Updated: Jun 14, 2018 14:59 IST
Deep Saxena
Deep Saxena
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Cancer survivor,Hardship,Stress
“Life is perfect only on social media. I have come back from the jaws of death and realised that everything is transient.”(Dheeraj Dhawan/HT Photo)

Headship breaks people but after defeating cancer, Khamoshi actor Manisha Koirala says, “Cancer has come to me as a gift. It has made me embrace life. I was talking to one of my gurus and he said something really nice: “Just become ‘sakshibaav’ (witness) to everything that is happening around you. As you embrace good aspects of life be watchful and embrace hardship, trauma and stress of life as they are also part of life.”

During her stay in Lucknow for the shoot of Sanjay Dutt starrer Prasthaanam, she further tells HT City, “Life is perfect only on social media. I have come back from the jaws of death and realised that everything is transient; so do you best, enjoy life and moment as this will also go. It’s very liberating. And I try and follow that. Still, I am humble enough to understand that when death knocks I will have to say goodbye. I live by that.”

“Earlier, I was not able to live my life with dignity. I had had got so much good opportunity in life but used to get dissuaded by small things (hardships) and used to forgot the good that had happened and used to get depressed in that pain. It was so stupid. Today, if my heart breaks I will cry but then I know that this too will pass.”

Biggest realizations

She shares a few lessons learnt from it. “It has taught me many things; among them is realization of death. It is really important knowing that one day I am going to die. It is the most powerful lesson I was taught. It made me realize that I have to live life fully – for me it’s family, work, health, cause etc. So, I am more mindful now.”

The actor says that she is cancer free since 2013 and without any treatment. “And another thing I learnt is I should be very grateful that I had the opportunity to fight and come out of it and live my life again as life was slipping by. I don’t forget that I was at death’s doorstep and I don’t take things for granted. The fact is that when you fall ill, not too many people come forward as all are busy in life. So I try to do something or other to help people, causes, charity etc. I associate with some cause every year in my capacity for cancer awareness, fund raising, give patients hope and give motivational talks.”

The actor says that she is cancer free since 2013 and without any treatment. (Dheeraj Dhawan/HT Photo)

Talking it easy

The Dil Se, 1942 A Love Story and Bombay star says, “I am a workaholic, so I am used to take in a lot. But now I take it bit easy – be with family, go back to Nepal, work toward cancer awareness, do social activity and be by the side of nature. I have to be mindful of work as films and web series offer keep coming, which certainly distracts. So, I take projects which gives me breather space. Balance my time — little work, little play.”

On her wishlist is spending three month vacation in a hut on scenic hills reading Nisargadutt Maharaj’s book I Am That.

Sanju next!

“When Rajji (Rajkumar Hirani) offered the film I was maha thrilled but then I was nervous that it’s Nargis Duttji’s role and also playing Ranbir’s (Kapoor) mother in the film. I even thought of politely saying no to the role but when I met him I decided that I have to work with him and I am very happy that I did. He says beautiful things about life in so entertaining manner without any bashan and all.”

Were you apprehensive playing Ranbir’s mother? “It’s a very strange situation for a female actor. When we are very young, we are paired opposite much older heroes. And, moment we enter into 40s, we are suddenly mothers of young heroes. I feared I would be typecast but it was a silly few. For an actor to play a legendary figure of Nargisji is a huge gift. To be honest, I was apprehensive but thankfully I did not fall in it. Also, very happy to work with Ranbir!”

Sanjay again!

“I and Baba (Sanjay Dutt) have done many movies together since the beginning of my career. I play his wife which is quiet interesting and powerful. It’s a very intense family drama in political backdrop. I have two sons (played by Ali Fazal and Satyajeet) and a daughter.”

On working with him after Baaghi, Yalgaar, Khauff and Mebhooba she says, “He is really fab and is king of heart. His hardship in life has only made him a better actor because sometimes you go through the bottom of life and come out with some great qualities which has made him unbreakable and deeper person.”

I am an UPite!

She has studied till class 10 in Varanasi. “I have spent many years of my life in Banaras. I studied in Vasant Kanya Mahavidyalay, Kamachha and my mom had also studied in the same school. A large part of my family lived in Banaras as my family was on a political exile. My grandfather (Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala, PM, Nepal) was fighting for democracy. My uncles studied in BHU and father in JNU. Our clan lived in Sarnath, then in Nirala and New Colony. Even today, I quietly travel and have a look at the house I lived in, soak it in and move on. I am a product of Banaras and that way an UPite. I can speak a bit of Bhojpuri also.”

On Lucknow, she says, “I have come here many times, in fact since childhood. But, somehow in this trip I discovered a new Lucknow. The city has transformed – in terms of good and cleaner roads, blooming trees on dividers, a beautiful green riverfront besides its historical monument.”

First Published: Jun 14, 2018 14:59 IST