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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Story of an unstoppable love for life

Manisha is a Bollywood legend, having appeared in over fifty Tamil and Hindi films. In the 1990s her films were top commercial successes across South Asia

Update : 11 Nov 2018, 01:51 AM

“Healed,” a conversation between Sadaf Saaz and Manisha Koirala was one of the most widely anticipated sessions of Dhaka Lit Fest 2018, and as expected, it drew a large crowd. 

Manisha is a Bollywood legend, having appeared in over fifty Tamil and Hindi films. In the 1990s her films were top commercial successes across South Asia. DLF Producer and Director Sadaf Saaz engaged Manisha in a riveting conversation about her career, and also about her new book, Healed, that will be available in South Asia from January 2019. Sadaf, herself a poet and women’s rights activist, moderated the session deftly, keeping the discussion thoroughly alive. 

Sadaf started the conversation by asking Manisha about her career and how it started. Manisha belongs to an important political family from Nepal but when she entered Bollywood, she did not have any patronage. Sadaf inquired into how difficult it was for her to make a place in the industry and what kind of things she had encountered and how she overcame them.

The conversation then turned to her book, which is an autobiography that starts from the point of time when she found out that she had cancer. Sadaf asked her to share with the audience how she found out that she had stage-three ovarian cancer, and also how she got through those difficult times. 

Manisha only found out she had cancer when she went to the hospital with complaints of unbearable pain, upon which the doctor revealed this shocking news. Her entire family then got together, and collectively they decided on which country to go to, for the difficult surgery that was required. After the surgery, she had to go through months of chemotherapy. Even after being declared medically cancer-free, she shared, there still are possibilities that her cancer might come back, especially since her cancer had spread. The ambience turned a little emotional when she said, “I never thought that I only had a few months to live but I always thought that I’d recover.” At this point, Sadaf enormously commended her “unstoppable love for life.” 

The conversation concluded with Sadaf asking her about how the experience changed her and why she wrote the book in the first place. “To me, cancer came as a teacher,” said Monisha. “I started valuing life more than before.” She now aims to do work that she will actually be proud of, such as this book, she asserted. When she was undergoing treatment, she tried to find positive and inspiring stories of people who had survived cancer themselves, and though they were rare, the ones she found were inspiring. As a result, she said, “I felt compelled to share my story so that it heals other people.” 

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