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Manisha Koirala reflects on ‘second life’ after cancer battle, reuniting with Sanjay Leela Bhansali after 28 years

The 48-year-old actress will next be seen in Bhansali’s OTT debut Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar, which also stars Sonakshi Sinha, Richa Chadha, Sharmin Segal and Sanjeeda Sheikh

Sanghamitra Chatterjee Calcutta Published 06.04.24, 10:46 AM
Manisha Koirala

Manisha Koirala Instagram

Actress Manisha Koirala has penned a note on how she got a “second life” after successfully batting cancer, touching upon precious moments of her life, including reuniting with Sanjay Leela Bhansali for his upcoming Netflix web series Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar.

Sharing a set of pictures on Instagram on Friday, Manisha also reflected on the rewards and challenges of life and the simpler joys of exploring nature and spending time with her loved ones.


The carousel features Manisha’s co-stars in Heeramandi — Sonakshi Sinha, Richa Chadha, Sharmin Segal and Sanjeeda Sheikh — and her parents. She also posted pictures that give a glimpse of Nepal’s scenic beauty.

“I have a lot to be grateful for in life... a career that saw a lot of high moments, significant roles, best directors, and friendships that have stood the test of time... and it is with God’s grace that I have been given a second life after battling cancer,” wrote the 48-year-old actress in her note.

Manisha expressed her gratitude for being “given a second life after battling cancer”. “Life has been a good teacher with all its highs and lows, and I understand the value of time more intensely now. Yesterday was exhilarating and traumatic, but today is serene and peaceful,” she mentioned.

Affirming that she is currently in the best phase of her life, Manisha also shared how she has been spending time with her parents and cherishing the serenity of nature in her homeland. “The best phase of my life... my days are all about spending time with my parents, who are aging, exploring nature trails in Nepal, tending to my beautiful garden, looking after my furbabies, surrendering to my spiritual practices, and doing maybe one film once in a long while.”

The actress highlighted how her priorities have changed with time. “I no longer want all the best movies or city life. I chose to work only with people whose work I respect,” she explained.

The actress talked about her respect for Bhansali and his craft as a filmmaker. “When the call came from SLB, I knew it was something worth leaving my serene world back for a short time,” she stated.

Expressing her admiration for Bhansali’s work, Manisha wrote, “Heera Mandii has been enriching on many levels.... to work with SLB again after Khamoshi. He was so talented from day one, and how he has grown as a filmmaker... but his eye for detail and larger-than-life vision retain the same rigor.”

Heeramandi would see Manisha reuniting with Bhansali 28 years after she starred in his directorial debut Khamoshi: The Musical (1996), alongside Nana Patekar, Salman Khan and Seema Biswas.

Manisha also commended her co-stars in her note, mentioning how they all worked as part of a team instead of prioritising themselves. “Each one of them was at ease with herself. There were no attempts to pull each other down. No fighting over lines, space, or angles. Or better costumes and hair. They have all been doing meaty roles in their films and earned the confidence to stand their ground.”

Notwithstanding the positive vibes, the actress, however, touched a discordant note, expressing her dissatisfaction with some sections of the media that fail to comprehend the changing times. “Times have changed in many ways, and women are occupying their space. It’s only fair that the media moves with the times, too, and gives everyone the respect they deserve,” she signed off.

Marking Bhansali’s OTT debut, Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar will follow the stories of love and betrayal experienced by courtesans living in Lahore’s oldest red-light district, Heeramandi. It is slated to premiere on streaming service Netflix on May 1.

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