Manisha Koirala is back in action. At 2.30 pm, in her Versova apartment, she changes from one outfit to another with
professional ease for the look test of Promita Sengupta’s directorial debut, Maulali, which rolls towards the year-end. “She’s
written a really good script, there’s drama, comedy and revenge. It challenges me and though it’s her first film, I’m confident
she’ll deliver. At this age I don’t want to take chances with a wrong film,” asserts the 46-year-old actress who plays a
Bihari-Muslim who reunites with her lost son after years.
Manisha herself wants to adopt a girl next year. It’s been four years since she was diagnosed with cancer and the crisis
seems to have passed.”I am extremely close to my family but they live in Nepal. I feel lonely when I come back to an empty
house. There’s a need for human bonding, I’ve wanted to adopt since I was a child,” she reveals.
In 2010, she married Nepali businessman Samrat Dahal. They were divorced two years later but Manisha’s still open to the
idea of marriage. “Who wouldn’t want to get married? Initially it’s great, but later, you never know. If somebody nice comes
along, I may think about it. What’s important at present is a sense of family which will come with the adoption,” she says.
For now, Manisha’s busy with script readings and working on her Bihari and Urdu accent. Her coactors are being flown
down for workshops and Promita is discussing costumes with her. “I’m mostly behind the scenes too, lecturing everyone.
Filmmaking is a team effort,” says the actress. She is looking forward to returning to Kolkata where she shot Rituparno
Ghosh’s 2008 Bengali film, Khela. She feels at home in the city with its culture of music and its Tagore stories she’s read
over the years. “During Khela, a special fish curry would be made for me every day. I also love mishti doi. Rituda took me
shopping for cotton sarees,” she reminisces.
She’s completed another film, Dear Maya, and there are two-three other offers. But she hasn’t signed any other film yet. “I
want to do roles I haven’t done before. I also want to direct. I have stories of struggle and triumph but haven’t sat on them
yet. I want to make an off-beat film and I won’t act in it,” she avers.
She’ll soon be a certified yoga teacher and after she finishes Maulali, she wants to do a course in integrative nutrition. “I
want to teach people how to live a holistic life. I’m obsessed with being healthy, constantly reading, researching and sharing
my knowledge with others,” says Manisha who also intends to write a book. “It will be my reflections on life and films. When
I was unwell I made lots of notes. I’ve promised my publisher I’ll deliver it to them next year.”