Washington, DC – Nepalese-Indian actress Manisha Koirala has refused to believe frequent media reports that one of the top Indian actors was detained and harassed at airports in the United States, and the actress minced no words in stating so in a candid interview with India America Today.
Speaking with Tejinder Singh, editor of India America Today, during a recent visit to Washington, DC, Koirala pointed out, “I have traveled extensively in the US – I haven’t faced difficulties.”
Asked to comment on the repeated incidents reported by her colleague, Indian film actor Shahrukh Khan during his trips to the United States, Koirala said, “And, honestly, I don’t know how much to believe what I hear and see nowadays. How much mirch masala has been put in and how much truth there is in it — I don’t know.”
About the recent incident when Khan was reportedly stopped again for extended questioning by US airport authorities who, by the star’s own account, “kick the star out of stardom,” Koirala expressed her doubts, saying, “I want to be present there to witness it, witness and then I can comment on it, otherwise I really have — I don’t really buy everything that I see over here.”
In the relaxed atmosphere of a free day, Koirala spoke about her past and her stay with her grandmother in Varanasi during her studies.
“I used to watch cinema a lot earlier since childhood because I grew up with my grandmother. She was a big Hindi cinema buff and over the weekend, she used to take a few of us to a theater and watch cinema,” Koirala shared.
However, she never thought of joining the film industry, she recollected, “It never occurred to me that I would get into films as I come from a political family and never thought really I will get into it. But it happened and am here (laughs). But I used to love cinemas and those days, I used to love films like Masoom — art films.”
Koirala is planning additional projects other than films in the future, but she would like to talk about them when the time is right. “Yes, I do have a couple of things planned for myself, which I want to do,” said the talented Nepalese beauty, adding, “In 2012, I am focusing only on films and am doing a couple of movies recently.”
Reiterating, “Once you are an actor or you chose to be in the field of an art, I think, you get very attached to that,” she said about her break from the film world.
“I stayed away from acting for a few years and I realize how much I was losing, so an actor, always an actor. So films is what I see for next few years and then lets see, I have other things lined up, but as and when they get formalized, I will be talking about it,” said Koirala.
Koirala feels the spectrum of the film world has changed, as, “the audiences are more open to different kind of cinemas, otherwise it was just like black and white, song – dance, hero – heroine, a set up – emotional drama, and that’s about it.”
With the arrival of multiplexes and television, Koirala said, “We have great directors and dealing with different kind of cinemas. There is no longer parallel cinema and main stream cinema. It is either you are making a good cinema or bad cinema. According to me there is no other way.”
Mentioning her film, “Do Paise Ki Dhoop, Chaar Aane Ki Baarish,” Koirala was optimistic when asked about the changing landscape of the acceptance of gay and lesbian people in India.
“In today’s time, people are being more aware, more open and things are getting accepted but to fully fathom, to fully accept, it is going to take a while,” Koirala said.
Acknowledging that in rural India, “it’s still a taboo,” Koirala said, “But I think with development, the awareness, the people will start accepting it. In the cities, there is no problem.”
Koirala had a special message for budding artists and other professionals, as she urged them to “accept the hardship and move on with the thing,” adding, “if you are passionate about doing it and willing to put in hard work, there are many opportunities which open the door. Life welcomes you.”