BENGALURU: She’s back and how. Actor Manisha Koirala was in the city to speak at the 4th edition of ‘Leading Ladies’ 2019 organised by Embassy Office Parks to celebrate International Women’s Day. In conversation with the media, she speaks about her journey post-cancer, films and women rights.
What kept you going when you were fighting cancer?
My family and well-wishers. When I put out a note on social media, I received prayers and e-mails.
I realised their love towards me.
How was it to get back to films post cancer?
It felt great. I was afraid that I’ll be forgotten as an actor as it was a long break.
With film projects, travel, social work and talks, how do you manage time?
Life is stressful. I had my book tours and a couple of lectures this month. Simultaneously, I am in talks for some film projects. I am planning to go to Everest base camp with my girlfriends from school. I also want to be there for my aging parents. I try to give my 100 per cent to everything I do. I try to get eight to nine hours of sleep, eat good food and work out. It’s also important to take rest as your well-being is the most important thing. My family reminds me constantly to slow down.
Who are your favourite actors and directors to work with?
Everybody has a good and a bad side like I do too. I think Aamir Khan has gone a notch higher with the kind of cinemas he’s making and the performances he’s giving. Back then, he used to rehearse a lot. But I don’t like to keep giving shots. I give a maximum of three takes. The South has given me great projects and opportunities to work with great actors and directors. I love working with Mani Ratnam and Kamal Hassan.
What’s your creative process?
First, I need to like the story and the director. After my fight with cancer, I am looking for stories with positive messages. I am not exploring darker roles, which is not a good thing to do as an artiste. But I am limiting myself in that space. I sit with the director and try to understand the character. I read the script 10 to 15 times while simultaneously working on the looks and mannerisms. It’s a lovely process preparing for the role.
Is there something you’d like to say to women?
Women should be able to speak their mind without any fear. We have just started discussing the issues we face and only scratched the surface. The fight for equal pay, respect, safety, should go on. On the other hand, we should also value women who choose to be homemakers.
What are the projects you are currently working on?
I have two to three offers in hand, which I am negotiating.