Manisha Koirala rekindles her affair with the camera. Filmfare meets the mystic behind the make-up
Much has changed about Manisha Koirala. She’s in a reinvention, rejuvenation mode, her tryst with spirituality somewhere being a catalyst to it. Interestingly, she’s donned pancake for Ram Gopal Varma’s Bhoot 2 and a couple of regional projects.
Was it thrilling to face the camera after the long break?
I really enjoyed it. I’ve just finished the first schedule of the Malayalam film Edavapathi (No Man’s Land, directed by Lenil Rajendran). But I realise I’ve aged. The body doesn’t allow me to shoot non-stop.
Once an actor, always an actor...
Earlier I didn’t believe this.I love reading and jamming with friends. I’ve enjoyed living in countries where I didn’t even know the language. Yet today nothing gives me as much satisfaction as acting.
You also took your beauty for granted…
True. I gave a damn about how I looked. Some people are born with the wisdom to preserve what they have, some learn along the way.. I believed my beauty was a gift from my parents, not a personal achievement.
Did you ever feel insecure about your female co-actors?
Not at all. I did Hindustani with Urmila Matondkar. (Laughs) I was asked whether I was jealous of her. I replied, “How can I be jealous? If I have a 10-minute role, she has a 15-minute one.” The other instance was Lajja and I was full of admiration for Madhuri Dixit and Rekhaji.
What was your strength as an actor?
I was meant for the screen. Honestly, I wasn’t that hard-working. I wasn’t the prettiest of the lot either. It was only gradually that I started looking good.
What were the mistakes you made?
I wouldn’t have been me if I didn’t make those mistakes. But yes, I did refuse roles, which I regretted later. Like Yashji (Chopra) had offered me Karisma Kapoor’s role in Dil Toh Pagal Hai. I wish I’d done that.
What hasn’t changed about you?
I’m super emotional. I get attached easily. Attachment is a habit. But because I’m far more aware today, I don’t become a victim of that attachment.
How do you beat depression?
I’m not a pessimist. But there have been times when I’ve broken down and done all those horrible things you do when you’re depressed.
What helps you pull out?
Despite the downfalls, despite the heartbreaks, despite the humiliation and despite the pain I have undergone, I’m still a happy human being. People change, situations change and there are no permanent enemies.
When was the time you felt most humiliated?
What hurt me most was that people thought I was conniving with the director (Shashilal Nair) to promote the film.
Controversies have never been far from you…
(Laughs) When I look back and read my earlier interviews, I wonder whether I really said all that. I’d say what came to my mind at that point of time.
Are you a romantic or a realist?
I am a romantic. I love to daydream.
What does love mean to you today?
Love for me is no longer only between man and woman. Such a love is limited. If someone can say, ‘I love you whether you love me or not’, then that unconditional love is most valuable.
How significant is a man in your life?
It’s great to be in a relationship and have a man in your life. But you must be clear about what’s drawing you towards this relationship.
Do demands kill a relationship?
Surely! But the question remains that don’t we demand of others too? He must have this and he must be this. It’s easier said than done.
Ever thought of writing your memoirs?
I would like to. But honestly, I’m a stranger to myself. When I read my past interviews I can’t recognize myself.
Do you wish to be a mother?
Yes. I don’t know whether it would be biologically/physically possible after a point of time. There’s a strong desire to be a mother but I leave it to the Universe. Some time back I thought of adopting one. Maybe I’ll do so after a couple of years.
Do you fear ageing?
Not at all! Years before, on my 30th birthday, I had a massive bash. My friends were surprised that I had gone all out to announce my age. Every age is beautiful.