Manisha to play Nepali politician - in real life
May 9, 2007 - 12:56:15 PM

Kathmandu, May 9 - After almost a decade in the film industry, Bollywood actress Manisha Koirala is getting ready to play the most challenging role in her life - that of a Nepali politician, but this time in real life.

The model-turned-actress, who comes from one of the best-known political dynasties in Nepal, has decided to take the plunge because of the situation in Nepal.

Her grandfather B.P. Koirala was the first elected prime minister of Nepal, her great-uncle Girija Prasad Koirala is the present premier, and her father Prakash Koirala is a former minister.

Manisha, who was on a quick, low-key visit to the country recently to see her parents, told a Nepali weekly that she was waiting for the right 'environment' to join politics.

'I am known not just as an actress,' she said in an extensive interview to Naya Patrika, a new tabloid to hit the stands. 'I frequently meet Indian political leaders and they know me.

'I want to join politics because the situation in Nepal is such today that I don't think it's right to sit mum. I would have been glad to remain an actress if everything in Nepal was fine... But with the situation deteriorating, I can't shirk my responsibility.'

Manisha also held the Maoist guerrillas, who joined the government last month, responsible for 'wrecking' the environment for holding elections.

However, the actress, acclaimed for her role in Bollywood films like 'Bombay', 'Khamoshi' and '1942: A Love Story', said it would take some time for her to join Nepal's politics 'actively'.

Manisha, who had incurred the wrath of pro-democracy protesters by supporting King Gyanendra's power grab through a coup and the local election held by the royal regime last year, reiterated her support for the king despite his fall and a movement in Nepal to abolish monarchy.

'The king had asked for three years,' she said. 'It was not a long time. But he was not allowed to work. Now it's the tendency to blame the palace for every evil. What will people do if they get a republic? Will they then blame Maoist leader Prachanda?'

Manisha, who had actively campaigned during the polls, said she did not think King Gyanendra was undemocratic.

'It was not wrong to campaign,' she said. 'An election is a democratic exercise. It is a different thing that the parties decided to boycott it. One has the right to take part or boycott. I exercised my right.'

During her visit, Manisha met Koirala's daughter Sujata but not the octogenarian leader 'since he was busy'.

Asked if she met the king, her monosyllabic answer was: 'No'.

The actress also spiritedly defended her father Prakash Koirala's decision to support the king, for which he was expelled by his Nepali Congress party, which led the anti-king protests.

'His party expelled him because he expressed a different opinion,' she said. 'How can a democratic party crack down on a different opinion? This is wrong. In the past, the same party expelled former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.'

About her earlier announced plans to start a film city in Nepal and an aerial ambulance service, she said: 'It took me four to five days just to get a return ticket to Mumbai.

'You can't get any work done in Nepal in the current situation. You can't do anything till there is an end to strikes, peace and political stability.'x

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