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12-11-2009, 02:22 AM #1
Manisha Koirala makes a comeback in Nepal film industry
Actress Manisha Koirala, who left her home and the Nepali film industry two decades ago to carve out a niche in Bollywood, is now poised to make a comeback in Nepali films with “Rajniti”.
The 39-year-old actor, who comes from one of the best known political families of Nepal, has agreed to play the lead in a new Nepali film that is being produced by former politician and women’s right activist Durga Pokhrel whose career took a downturn after she decided to join forces with Nepal’s deposed king Gyanendra.
Manisha, who made her screen debut with a Nepali film – “Pheri Bhetaula” (We will meet again) – will now be back in Kathmandu to act in “Rajniti”, a film on contemporary political issues being directed by young Nepali director Dipendra Kumar Khanal.
Like politics, Khanal brought a twist to his film this week when the muhurat was done by another Bollywood star, and former Congress MP, Govinda.
“I have decided to give politics a wide berth but “Rajniti” is not leaving me,” quipped a smiling Govinda who last year announced he was quitting politics to concentrate on films.
Govinda and his wife Sunita, who is from Nepal, were the guests of honour at the programme when the first song of the film was recorded Wednesday.
Bengali singer Shobha Banerjee was flown in to sing the songs.
Though Manisha herself was away in Mumbai, her mother Sushma Koirala attended the function.
Pokhrel, a human rights activist, shot to fame after being jailed during the pro-democracy movement in 1990.
Also a former chief of the Women’s Commission, Pokhrel’s career however began sagging after she agreed to support King Gyanendra who in 2005 sought to seize absolute power with the help of the army.
Pokhrel was minister for women, children and social welfare in the royal cabinet for a brief while.
Manisha’s father Prakash Koirala too supported the king and was the science and technology minister in the royal cabinet.
During the controversial municipal election called by the king in 2006 but boycotted by all the major parties, Manisha had flown down to Kathmandu from Mumbai to campaign for her father’s party.
In retaliation, the Maoist guerrillas, who were fighting an armed battle to end monarchy, announced a ban on her films in Nepal and set fire to posters at a theatre screening a Hindi film starring the Nepali actor.
Though Manisha is one of the best known Nepalis outside Nepal, the news of her comeback has so far met with lukewarm response.
While her entry in Bollywood took off with Subhash Ghai’s “Saudagar”, Manisha’s Nepal ventures have however consistently flopped. “Pheri Bhetaula” was not completed while a second ambitious project she signed – the Nepali remake of the Bollywood classic “Mother India” – never took off.
Her plan to open a film city in Nepal also remains canned after the sea change in Nepal’s politics and the fall in grace of the royalists following the abolition of monarchy.
While Manisha supported monarchy, her grandfather B.P. Koirala, the first elected prime minister of Nepal, was sacked and jailed by the then king of Nepal for supporting democracy.
Manisha’s aunt Sujata Koirala is the current deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Nepal.
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