Manisha Koirala on playing her character in ‘Lust Stories’ and more

Manisha Koirala has found poetry in everyday mundaneness of the world – the sunrise, the grass, the shining stars – and feels more appreciative of life today with every breath she takes. She was diagnosed with the ovarian cancer in 2012 which she successfully overcame.

Though difficult, Manisha says the phase, where the fear of losing everything loomed large, left her completely changed. “When I was at the brink of losing it all – with my health crisis – that made me appreciate life. For me, everyday is a blessing. I look at things which I ignored earlier. I enjoy sunrise, being barefoot on the grass, the stars in the sky, the breeze on your face or the ruffle of the leaves. I feel blessed to be alive,” Manisha said.

The actor says she is “at a relaxed and excited space” in her career and life, with her heart being more “compassionate, understanding and focused”. While she feels grateful and blessed to still get good work, she is also thrilled to get feedback for her performances.

“When you get good reviews for your work, it’s reassuring. You wonder ‘even after 80 plus movies?’ and I say yes. It’s always nice to hear good feedback,” she said.

The 47-year-old actor has Sanjay Dutt biopic up for release and was recently seen in the Netflix anthology Lust Stories. In Sanju, Manisha will be seen playing Dutt’s mother, Nargis.

The actor says she had to undergo several “look tests” and credits director Rajkumar Hirani for doing “excellent” ground work. “I had a very good director and the team was so good, half of my battle was won there. When you work with good directors, it’s easier because they’ve already done the ground work, research. We did a lot of look tests, watched documentaries, read books. I tried to bring out what we could.”

Manisha is also thrilled that her short film with Dibakar Banerjee in Lust Stories has won people over. The actor says she was not sure initially about the project. “I had seen Dibakar’s previous works and I loved his short in ‘Bombay Talkies’. I knew he would make a sensible film. Personally speaking, I wanted to do it differently. But he had a vision. While rehearsing I understood where he was going. I didn’t agree somewhere with him but then in the end it all turned out very well.”

Sanju features Ranbir Kapoor in the lead and also stars Paresh Rawal, Sonam Kapoor, Dia Mirza and Anushka Sharma.