By Manuwant Choudhary
News of Manisha Koirala being taken to Jaslok Hospital in Bombay for suspected cancer is a bolt from the blue and for all her admirers a reason for concern.
I have admired Manisha Koirala for her beauty and as an actor...her roles in the film Bombay and 1942 A Love Story are breath-taking.
This special post is for her speedy recovery.
Bollywood has many talented actors but Manisha Koirala in her 20 year career is the only one who reminds us of classic Bollywood beauties like Madhubala, Waheeda Rehman & Nargis.
Ofcourse, Manisha wasn't so lucky as them....she did some great films but there were those which were bad also.
She is a director's actor...a good director and a good script could do wonders.
And there is no denying that she is a talented actor otherwise how could a girl from remote Nepal come to India, get some training in classical dances and enter the big, bad world of Bollywood and make it big.
In Bollywood and India her famous Koirala surname doesn't count.
Koirala is good for winning elections in Nepal.
Here its talent and how the film goer's appreciate what you do.
Her role in Mani Ratnam's film Bombay - based on a love story between a Hindu boy and Muslim girl - was not just controversial but a super hit.
I happened to watch a pre-release of Bombay with the mullahs and the Shiv Sainiks as well as the edited post release.
But as a journalist I was not particularly lucky with Bollywood stars and models..they were always my toughest assigments...but Bombay is a place where you may just happen to bump into them.
And we owe Manisha an apology.
The newspaper I worked for once accidentally triggered a riot in Bombay.
Manisha was already under threat from fanatics for her role in the film Bombay...and the Times of India carried an intelligence report saying so.
And our newspaper that same afternoon carried a front page news item "Manisha Koirala Killed"....
Soon our office was flooded with telephone calls..even from Kathmandu.
Before we realised some violence broke out in Mohammed Ali Road and half of Bombay lowered their shutters.
Its only then we realised the `goof up'.
Someone had placed an advert for a film in which Manisha is killed...and the advert read like a news report...and accidentally the adtv at the side fell at the time of page-setting....and so what appeared was like a report by a staff reporter !
And Manisha Koirala herself called up our editor Behram Contractor, who apologised profusely.
But Manisha was kind and forgiving and she would always personally invite our editor for all her functions.
But this one goof-up got me an Oberoi lunch with Manisha Koirala !
Nepal's Prime Minister was in town and Manisha was hosting a lunch in his honour and she invited our editor but our editor had not fully recovered from the goof up and so he asked me if I could go in his place.
At the Oberoi Manisha wore a pastel peach chiffon saree and she looked pretty and graceful - much better then even her films.
But I was careful.. kept a very safe distance...I did not really know how to tell her I am a reporter from the newspaper that killed you.
But the Oberoi lunch was great.
I hope Manisha gets well soon.