JAIPUR: Bollywood actress and cancer survivor Manisha Koirala illuminated the Jaipur Literature Festival on Sunday, talking about her book ‘Healed’ and opening up about the journey which led her to overcome the deadly health condition.
Manisha discussed the details of her illness and how it had changed her perspective towards life. In an interaction with the press, she disclosed her future plans as well.
The 48-year-old actress, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012, went in for treatment and was declared cancer-free by mid-2014.
“I am thankful to all the people who have read my book,” said Koirala. On whether Bollywood supported her through her illness, she said that some people did but she is grateful to her family for being there for her.
“When I was ill, I wanted to hear positive stories of people who have fought this battle successfully. But sadly there weren’t many reported stories out there. But I sought inspiration from Yuvraj Singh and Lisa Ray’s cases. This became my reason for penning the book down,” said Manisha.
Manisha, known for her unforgettable roles in '1942: A Love Story', Bombay, 'Khamoshi', also talked about her colleagues in Bollywood Irrfan Khan and Sonali Bendre, and why today celebrities want to share their stories openly without any inhibition.
“When people in public life talk about this, there is more awareness that spreads about the disease. In my case itself, if I had been more aware, I would have got myself tested earlier. But I came to know about the disease only at the last stage,” she exclaimed.
According to her, the cancer journey changed her view of her life. “The disease came as a teacher to me. It made me realize the value of my family, my health and my surroundings. If one is not healthy, one can’t enjoy any aspect of one’s life,” she said.
On getting to know about the disease, she said she couldn’t think much and felt a mountain on her head. “But I was determined to win against it. At every step I had to feel courageous, face the consequences and fight my fear,” she added.
The success of her fight against cancer came as a spiritual gift to her and she says that it made her aware of her own mortality. “I understood how privileged I was when I was healthy. I am now more kind to myself and to the world as well,” she responded warmly.
When asked about her views on expensive cancer medicine and lack of government apathy in India, Manisha said that all these factors cannot be controlled by the common man. She advised the audience to look after themselves and lead a healthy lifestyle.
“If you have a good and healthy lifestyle, then you won’t need to visit the doctor. Getting the government to help, or pharmaceuticals to reduce the cost, is not in our control. We need to control the controllable,” the actress said.