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My dear Mansha (Manisha),

I really cannot believe you are forty-nine, but what can me or you or the whole world do about time? Time is like Jonathan Livingston Seagull, the Seagul who took off fearlessly without thinking or fearing about where and how his flight towards freedom would lead him to, time is like the limitless specks of sand on the beach, time is like the unending waves in the ocean, time is also like the boundless sky which has no end, time is Manisha and all her ambitions, dreams, desires and conquests….

Mansha, this day forty-nine years ago must have been one of the happiest days for Prakash and Sushma Koirala whose first born you were and O, so what a beautiful fairy of a baby girl you must have been.

You must have danced and frolicked and had innocent fun in the fields and farms, in the dust and even on the roads and lanes leading you to a life you must have never imagined it would be.

Prakash and Sushma must have had you in their eyes, in their hearts and in their minds, you must have been a part of their beings, in spite of all their busyness and buisness and all the high tides and low tides of the world of politics in Kathmandu, the heart of Nepal.

You must have been a sweet little girl in your school pinafore and the ribbons in your hair or the pony tail in which your lustrous hair must have been combed and your impeccable manners and the rich values on which you must have been brought up by Prakash and Sushma.

You grew up into a beautiful fairy-like teenager, living in Banaras and making the holy city more holy, you could have been seen as one of the modern day goddesses, not in stone statues and in portraits and paintings and even the most devouts pandits and self-made and self-appointed saints must have been distracted in their poojas and must have forgotten their mantras and their chants and must have forgotten the number of times they had rung the bells of their temples when they must have seen you in all your teenaged glory.

Mansha, some of the pandits must have told your proud parents and some may have predicted a very bright future for you, but little must they have known how you would have a passionate relationship with life itself.

They say you made a beginning as a model, they would have been mad if they had not, because a model is what you and your beauty could have made you a model extraordinary even if they had not made you, you would have been an ideal model for God to show how great a creator and painter of lives he could be.

You took the right decision and Prakash and Sushma did the right thing by standing by you when you decided to fly to Mumbai to chase and conquer your dreams and you had in a short time after you tip-toed into the city of dreams which spread out the red and green carpets for you.

And what a grand beginning you made singing ‘Ilu Ilu’ and giving love a new meaning and a new life in the Showman, Subhash Ghai’s “Saudagar”, you were a little sweet baby thrown in the midst of giants and legends like the supreme Dilip Kumar and the fascinating and ‘dangerous’ Raaj Kumar and you still stood out like the God-anointed beauty which was enhanced by the magic of the Showman, you had conquered and found the way with your very first film and what a beginning it was for a girl from Kathmandu who was from a family of politicians and who had shown signs of your being a rebel when you said no to politics and yes to dancing the most difficult Indian dances.

They say a good beginning is half the battle won and it seemed like you were born to make this saying come true. People who saw you said, “iss ladki ka aaghaaz aisa hai toh anjaam kya hoga”and you showed them what your aaghaaz was and what they could expect of the anjaam he would show them and the world.

You were certainly made for great things and they came to you, you didn’t have to go after them or play to their good old and sometimes dirty ways. You were a winner on the way, all the way.

Mansha, when I had first set my eyes on you with Subhash Ghai in that air-conditioned room at the Seth Studios, I was totally and completely mesmerised by your angelic beauty and I remember calling on some of the greatest poets writing in every language and especially my favourite poet, Sahir Ludhianvi to help me to describe your beauty and they did not respond to my call and I understood their plight, they too must have faced the same challenge as I was while looking at you and I knew at the end of the meeting that you were made for the sky of success, nothing less……

Thank-you for the number of times you proved me right when you excelled in every way in films like,“1942–A Love Story”,“Khamoshi–The Musical”,“Akele Hum Akele Tum”,“Dil Se”,“Bombay”,“Agni Sakshi” and many more, you were recognised as a leading actress and there were experts who were willing to place you on the same pedestal as Madhuri Dixit, Sridevi and Juhi Chawla who were in the league of the top girls those days.

But, but, but, my dear Mansha, I still can’t understand what kind of a demon or demons possessed you with success. You will or you must believe me now that you went berserk after success embraced you. You had started drinking (vodka was your weakness), I remember how you kept nips of vodka in the house of your friend and mentor as you called her, Deepti Naval and how you desperately rushed to her house in Oceanic-1 after your day’s shoot she had a few large gulps of the plain-booking liquid which I as an alcoholic knew was poison and a sure killer, but who was I to stop you from loving your poison so desperately?

Your affair with alcohol and drugs and sometimes a puff or more turned you into a dependee on them and I was shocked how no one tried to stop you for love or for the fear of losing one more good actress to alcohol.

You, dear Mansha seemed to be on a self-destruction spree, I didn’t know why, for what and for whom, but again who was I to give you any advice when you had other advisors who had fun at your expense and at the cost of your own destruction??

You, dear Mansha, did not stop with alcohol and drugs, you had started having a number of affairs with men, I don’t know much about the other affairs because I have never believed in interfering in the personal lives of people, however close they may be to me, but I have seen to believe how you had become a slave to Nana Patekar, even though he really treated you like a slave or worse. I remember one evening when I was with Nana at his spartan flat in Lokhandwala and you had come straight from a shoot and the way he talked to you and described you and your looks and asked you to prepare tea for the two of us on a primus stove and how you almost lost your breath while pumping the stove into action and Nana my dear friend kept speaking rudely in an abusive language to you and that too in my presence, I was shocked to see the fairy I had seen being reduced to such a horrifying plight and sight, I never felt so miserable for you, I couldn’t help it because I had visualised queen’s future for you. All the men who had walked into your life and made it a mess left you one by one and you were left alone to build a house of frustration and destruction for yourself.

Slowly, all good work also stopped coming to you and I couldn’t watch you shooting for a film called “Ek Chhoti Si Love Story” in which the makers were only trying to exploit your body beautiful. I had walked out of the shooting when the camera was only being focused on your thighs and the upper parts of your body and you were hardly aware of what dirty games they were playing with you….

And then what? It was only one big slide down and you had added one more bad habit, you started losing respect for time and seemed to follow in the footsteps of Govinda, your hero in some films and filmmakers started cursing you and cursing themselves for having taken you in their films.

The downfall was written on the wall for you. You soon had no work. And then came the thunder and the lightning on you. You were diagnosed for ovarian cancer. It shook up your existence and you were in a large way responsible for what you had done to yourself…

But, thank God, dear Mansha, God had in a way taught you a lesson, but he was also kind enough to give you the grace and the guts to fight it out. You went through hell and the kind of pain, itself would feel ashamed and guilty of. It took you months to fight the Big-C but it was great to see you return from the jaws of death, so what if you were bald, beaten and broken in body, but your spirit was ready to fight back and you spirit was soaring high. I first saw the new Manisha at a play done by Anupam Kher at the NCPA. You were bald, but you were back and Manisha.

It was great to see you return to work with such good roles in films like “Dear Maya” and “Sanju” in which you played Nargis Dutt, the mother of Sanju in real life. You had made a point, you had struck back and now I am told that you are willing to change with the changing times and have done a webseries called “Lust Stories 2″ for Netflix….

Not everyone gets a first good life and then a new life like you have received. You are only forty-nine now dear Manisha. You have also proved to be a good writer by writing a book called “Healed” and the field is now open to you again. You have to make the right choices. You have to be in the right company. You have to think positive. You have to forget the past (I know it is not easy), but forget, please forget the past and swing with the new life you have been gifted with, and remember not every Manisha gets this kind of a gift and have so many new doors open to decorate your house which is you yourself with a display of all your talent you still have in you.

Carry on, my dear, Mansha and let no attraction, addiction or temptation let you drift away from the Manisha Koirala who was and who can still be.

Your well-wisher then, now and always

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Tags: Bollywood, Bollywood News, Bollywood Updates, Television, Telly News, Manisha Koirala, Dear Maya, Lust Stories 2

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