Sunday, March 16, 2008
Manisha belonged to the first family of Nepal. Her grandfather was the prime minister there at one time, and her uncles were also in power off and on. She was brought up in Varansi by her maternal grandfather. She was all set to study medicine but she stepped into the modelling world. From there she went on to do a Nepali film which brought her to Bombay's Bollywood. Her first movie was the inspid First Love Letter. She starred alongside Vivek Mushran in this romantic movie.
Subhash Ghai's ambitious Saudagar was her next movie. The movie starred Dilip Kumar and Raj Kumar in a confrontational role. They played old friends turned bitter foes. Vivek Mushran and Manisha play their young children who fall in love and are instrumental in bringing peace back to the families. The movie had good songs like Ilu Ilu and was shot in scenic locations. It was a big hit.
Feroze Khan's Yalgaar also had several big stars, Mukesh Khanna, Kabir Bedi, Feroze Khan, Sanjay Dutt. Manisha played a young girl caught in vengeful crossfire between the families of a mafia-don and a police officer. She again plays a dovelike role of a harbinger of peace, similar to what she played in her first two films.
Manisha was in the big league already, as she had practically debuted with Subhash Ghai. But so far she had played the youngest sibling or the daughter of the house. She wasnt really a lead actress yet. She did some movies like Anmol with Rishi Kapoor, Insaniyat ka Devta with Vivek Mushran, and Dhanwan with Ajay Devgan.
Then Vidhu Vinod Chopra cast her in 1942 a Love Story alongside Anil Kapoor and Jackie Shroff. Manisha played the daughter of a freedom fighter in the last days of the Raj in the idyllic hill station of Manali. Rajeshwari (Manisha) is spotted by Naren (Anil Kapoor) who falls headlong in love with the pretty girl. However, they come from different backgrounds, his father is a Raj sympathiser, her father is a freedom fighter, he is rich, she is poor. But they fall in love and overcome all odds to be together in the end. The movie was beautifully shot, Manisha looked fresh as dew. The movie finally bestowed the status of a lead heroine on Manisha. There were some lovely songs that featured Manisha beautifully, Ek ladki ko dekha to aisa laga, Rim jhim.
Manisha was in some indifferent movies like Milan, Sangdil Sanam and Dushmani. She starred in Mahesh Bhatt's Criminal alongside the southern hottie Nagarjuna. Although she was bumped off in the movie by the half time, she had some intensely romantic scenes with Nagarjuna with beautiful songs like Tum mile, dil khile, aur jeene ko kya chahiye. The movie was a big hit.
Then came Akele Hum Akele Tum with the then romantic heartthrob, Amir Khan. The movie had some good songs, but was not a hit. It was a tale of young lovers who let their personal ambitions come in the way of their marriage. Their love for their son brings them together. This movie featured the sweet song - Raja ko rani se pyaar ho gaya.
Manisha's first movie with Shahrukh was a big washout. Guddu sank faster than the titanic.
Then came Mani Ratnam's Bombay. Manisha was a muslim girl here who elopes with her hindu lover. Later when they are embroiled in the midst of the Hindu-Muslim riots in Bombay, their children become the target of both the rioters because they could be either hindu or muslim. AR Rahman created magical music with 'Kehna hi kya', 'Tu hi re', 'Humma humma', and 'Kochi Kochi rukumma'. The movie was a big hit and critically acclaimed too. Along with Arvind Swamy, Manisha won accolades for her magnificent performance.
Agnisakshi was the indian version of Sleeping with the Enemy, with some modifications. Alongwith Nana Patekar and Jackie Shroff, Manisha again put in a great performance. This movie too, was a hit.
Khamoshi.lkc">Khamoshi was Sanjay Leela Bhansali's movie which depicted Manisha as a singer who tries to cope with life with her deaf and dumb parents who are trying to come to terms with the trauma of their son's death. She was paired with Salman Khan here. She had the bold role of a young girl who gets pregnant by her lover. It was a sensitive movie with wonderful acting by everyone, especially Nana Patekar and Seema Biswas who play the deaf and dumb couple.
In Hindustani, she was the love interest of Kamal Hassan and got to dance to sparkling songs like 'Telephone dhun me hasne wali'. With Kamal Hassan in a double role here, there was little left for Manisha to do.
In Rajiv Rai's Gupt, she was the heroine with Bobby Deol. Kajol played a negetive role here, while Manisha played the sweet damsel in distress. The movie was big hit.
Manisha was cast in Mani Ratnam's next movie, Dil Se. She starred again with Shahrukh Khan. She played an Assamese terrorist girl full of hate and venom against the Indian Government. Shahrukh spots her at the railway station and pursues her relentlessly across India. He awakens a spark of love in the heart of the hardened girl. Again the movie had some amazing music by AR Rahman, Chaiyya Chaiyya, Dil se, Ae Ajnabi, Satrangi Re. Manisha appeared in this movie without make-up and her ethereal beauty was well captured here.
Kachche Dhage was a movie about two step-brothers who are forced to stick together and bond unexpectedly as they face troubles together. It had Saif and Ajay Devgan in the lead with Manisha playing Ajay's girl. The movie was a hit, and is still seen as a good movie.
In Lal Baadshah, Manisha attempted to seduce an aging Ambitabh Bachchan. He was going through a rough patch, and the movie sank. In Mann, Manisha paired up with Amir Khan to recreate a sort of an indian Titanic. But the movie did not sail through.
Though Manisha was getting a lot of work, her movies were not working. Hindustan ki kasam, Baaghi, Raja ko Rani se Pyar ho gaya, Chuppa Rustam, Lajja, Moksha all flopped.
RGV's Company had Ajay Devgan in the role of a bad Don. It marked the debut of Vivek Oberoi. Manisha played the spaced out moll of the Don with perfection. She has mentioned in one place that she yearns for roles like Escape from Taliban and Company which give her scope for acting rather than the dumb love interest of the hero.
Ek Chotti Si love story was mired in controversy. It was the story of a young boy who spies on a neighbour. Despite a promise of steamy scenes in the movie, there were none, and the movie fell headlong into the ditch of failure.
Escape from Taliban was about a woman stuck in the extremist regime wishing for escape. The role gave Manisha a lot of scope for performance and she acted very well. However the movie was really for a niche audience and not for mass consumption.
Manisha turned to production with Paisa Vasool with Sushmita and Manisha playing two bad girl trying to make money out of criminal activities. Despite being a funny film, it did not do well.
She also starred in Anwar, which starred her brother Siddharth Koirala. It was a bit arty, but a very good film with lovely songs. Aankhen teri itni haseen. It examined the hindu-muslim equations. Manisha had a small role in it at the end of the film, of a TV professional trying to climb up the corporate ladder.
Manisha hasn't tasted much success lately. She has some movies under production which might be promising.
She has always been known as the bindaas babe who lived life on her own terms. She never bothered to hide her smoking habit or partying ways.
At one time, she has also dated Nana Patekar.
She helped out Hritik Roshan when he was under fire from the Nepali People for making derogatory remarks against the Nepalis.
Right now she is engaged to Christpin Conroy, the ambassador of Australia to Nepal.
* Exclusion (2008) (pre-production)
* Dus Kahaniyaan (2007) (post-production)
* God Tussi Great Ho (2007) (post-production) .... Sheetal
* Anwar (2007) .... Anita
* Darwaza Bandh Rakho (2006) .... Julie
* Anjaane: The Unknown (2005) .... Shivani Malhotra
* Taj Mahal: An Eternal Love Story (2005) .... Princess Jahan Ara
* Mumbai Express (2005) .... Ahilya
* Chaahat-Ek-Nasha.lkc">Chaahat Ek Nasha (2005) .... Mallika Arora
* Tum: A Dangerous Obsession (2004) .... Kamini Gupta
* Paisa Vasool (2004) .... Maria Rozario
* Market (2003) .... Muskaan Bano/Mallika'
* Calcutta Mail (2003) .... Sanjana
* Escape from Taliban (2003) .... Sushmita Bannerjee/Sayed Kamal
* Ek Chhotisi Love Story (2002) .... The woman
* Jaani Dushman: Ek Anokhi Kahani (2002) .... Vasundhara/Divya
* Baba (2002) .... Chamundeswari
* Company (2002) .... Saroja
* Moksha: Salvation (2001) .... Ritika Sanyal
* Aalavandhan (2001) .... Sharmilee
* Lajja (2001) .... Vaidehi
* Chhupa Rustam: A Musical Thriller (2001) .... Nisha
* Grahan (2001) .... Parvati 'Paro' Shastri
* Champion (2000) .... Sapna Khanna
* Raja Ko Rani Se Pyar Ho Gaya (2000) .... Manisha
* Baaghi (2000) .... Rani
* Khauff (2000) .... Neha Verma
* Hindustan Ki Kasam (1999) .... Roshanaara
* Mann (1999) .... Priya Verma
* Kartoos (1999) .... Manpreet "Mini" Kaur
* Jai Hind (1999) .... Sheetal
* Laawaris (1999) .... Anshu Mehra
* Lal Baadshah (1999) .... Kiran (life insurance agent)
* Kachche Dhaage (1999) .... Ruksana
* Mudhalvan (1999) .... Thenmozhi
* Maharaja (1998) .... Shaili Mathur
* Dil Se.. (1998) .... Meghna
* Achanak (1998) .... Pooja
* Salaakhen (1998) .... Dancer/Singer
* Yugpurush: A Man Who Comes Just Once in a Way (1998) .... Sunita
* Dil Deewana Maane Na (1997)
* Dil Ke Jharoke Main (1997) .... Suman
* Gupt: The Hidden Truth (1997) .... Sheetal Choudhry
* Loha (1997) .... Manisha Koirala
* Sanam (1997) .... Sanam
* Indian (1996) .... Ishwarya
* Khamoshi.lkc">Khamoshi: The Musical (1996) .... Annie J. Braganza
* Majhdhaar (1996) .... Radha Rai
* Agni Sakshi (1996) .... Shivangi Kapoor/Madhu
* Ram Shastra (1995) .... Anjali Sinha
* Bumbai (1995) .... Shaila Bano
* Guddu (1995) .... Salina Gupta
* Anokha Andaaz (1995)
* Akele Hum Akele Tum (1995) .... Kiran Kumar
* Criminal (1995) .... Mrs. Shweta Kumar
* Dushmani: A Violent Love Story (1995) .... Sapna Oberoi
* Milan (1995) .... Priya
* Sangdil Sanam (1994) .... Sanam
* Yuhi Kabhi (1994) .... Pooja
* 1942: A Love Story (1993) .... Rajeshwari Pathak
* Dhanwaan (1993) (as Monisha Koirala) .... Imli
* Anmol (1993) .... Anmol
* Insaniyat Ke Devta (1993) .... Nisha (Ranjit's daughter)
* Yalgaar (1992) .... Meghna Kumar
* Saudagar (1991) .... Radha
* First Love Letter (1991) .... Radha