'Maybe the man-woman love is not destined to happen for me.'
'Whether it is my career or my personal life, I can't afford to make wrong moves when God has given me a second chance,' Manisha Koirala tells Subhash K Jha.
Manisha Koirala, who plays Nargis, Sanjay Dutt's legendary actress-mother, in Sanju, says she is no longer looking for romantic love.
"Maybe the man-woman love is not destined to happen for me," Manisha says.
"I'd rather accept this sad truth of my life rather than fall into the wrong relationship again. I won't allow any man to bring me down, ever," the beautiful actress confesses.
"Whether it is my career or my personal life, I can't afford to make wrong moves at this stage when God has given me a second chance."
"My world fell apart, but the experience made me so much wiser and tolerant," she adds, referring to her cancer.
"It takes a life-threatening experience to make you realise the true value of life."
Manisha will relive the life of a cancer patient. Nargis succumbed to the disease in May 1981.
The actress says it wasn't easy.
"To live through the pain, trauma and suffering again... it required a lot of inner strength to play Nargisji. But finally, it was all worth it because she was such an iconic figure," she says.
"I have tried to capture her essence, the core of her being,/strong>. Just looking like her, or combing my hair the way she did, is not enough. I had to understand her spirit, her soul. Just how much I've succeeded we'll soon know."
Manisha says she now spends a lot of time doing homework for her roles.
"This is new to me," she says. "I've always been a spontaneous actor. But for Sanju, I did a lot of research on Nargisji."
"The film focuses on Nargis -- the doting mother who wanted to protect her son from the truth about her health until his first film was released. Unfortunately, she passed away before her son 'sdebut film Rocky released. This really broke him."
Manisha has reportedly gone on record to say she has a brief role in Sanju.
"What I meant was perhaps all the female actors have less to do than Ranbir Kapoor in Sanju," she clarifies.
"Ranbir plays Sanjay Dutt and the film is about him. I wanted to work with Raj Kumar Hirani. I've been fortunate to work with some of the best film-makers in the country, be it Sanjay Bhansali (Khamoshi), Mani Ratnam (Bombay, Dil Se), or Vidhu Vinod Chopra (1942: A Love Story), who is the producer of Sanju."
Manisha has signed a film with Sanjay Dutt as her co-star as well.
"Prasthanam is a remake of the hit South Indian film. Though my role is secondary, it is very strong and makes a difference to the plot. At this juncture in my career, I won't just stand around doing nothing," she says.
She enjoys the process of catching up with a co-star.
"Sanjay Dutt and I go back a long way. Like me, he too has gone through a lot in life. We have done films like Feroz Khan's Yalgaar. In fact, the other day we were missing Feroz Khansaab's presence in our midst. There was no one quite like him."
Manisha feels the work that she does now will reflect her inner world.
"I can't just be doing all the films that come my way. There's no urge to simply keep doing films to work. There is so much more to do, so many goals and dreams," she says.
She is currently working on her memoir.
"That is 80 percent complete. I am co-authoring my experiences with a professional writer, as I am not one. I needed someone to formulate and organise my thoughts," she says.
"Hopefully, the book will motivate cancer survivors and those who feel they have reached the end of their world."
"Every end is a new beginning. Today, I feel I am starting all over again in life," she says.
Adopting a child is also on the cards, "but not right away," she reveals.
"Not when I am so busy. I will bring home that child only when I know I can give her or him all my time. There is no point in becoming a mother when your other duties in life pull you in other directions."