Manisha Koirala

  • Actor, Producer

Aug 16, 1970  in Kathmandu, Nepal

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Manisha Koirala is a Nepalese actress who is known for her work in the Indian film industry. Although the actress has appeared mostly in Bollywood films, the actress has also starred in south Indian films across different languages in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. Coming from an actively political family in Nepal, the actress had no connection to the film industry and it is because of her sheer hard work and dedication that she has established herself as an accomplished and successful actress in the Indian film Industry. The actress is a trained dancer in Bhatartnatyam and Manipuri dance form.

Manisha Koirala made her acting debut in a Nepali film Pheri Bhetaula in 1989 and later she made her Bollywood debut with one of the top-grossing films, Saudagar in 1991. In a career spanning more than a decade, the actress has given some scintillating performances in movies like 1942: A Love Story (1994), Mann (1999), Lajja (2001) and Company (2002), Mappillai (2011), Game (2016) and along the way picked up several awards and won recognitions for her acting.

The actress who is known for her bohemian stance is often termed as bold and outspoken. Apart from an acting career, Manisha is also a philanthropist and she actively works for various social causes. For her outstanding relief work during the Nepal floods, the actress was conferred awarded Nepal`s Humanitarian Ambassador at the We care of Humanity`s 3rd Global Officials of Dignity Awards, which was held in August 2015 at the UN Millennium Hotel.


Manisha Koirala was born in Kathmandu, Nepal. Her family has been active in Nepali politics for a long time, her father is a former Minister of Environment, Science, and Technology and her grandfather Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala was a former Prime Minister of Nepal during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Manisha Koirala spent most of her childhood in Varanasi where she lived with her grandmother. She went to VKM School in Varanasi and studied there until 10th grade and later went to Army Public School in New Delhi. The actress also went to New York University where she pursued a diploma course in filmmaking. She has a brother, Siddharth Koirala who is also an actor, the siblings worked together in the 2007 film, Anwar.


Manisha Koirala was engaged to Christin Conroy, a former Australian ambassador to Nepal in 2001, however, the duo called off their engagement for reasons unknown. Nine years later, on 19th June 2010, the actress got married to Samrat Dahal, a businessman from Nepal in Kathmandu. However, the marriage did not last long, after being together for two years, the couple divorced in 2012.


After making her acting debut in a Nepali movie Pheri Bhetaula in 1981, the actress shifted her focus to Bollywood and made her debut in Bollywood with Subhash Ghai`s superhit movie, Saudagar in 1991. In spite of the star cast, Manisha managed to make her presence felt in the movie and her performance was much appreciated by the critics and audiences alike. Between 1992 and 1993, the actress appeared in several movies but none garnered any attention. A turning point in her career came in April 1994 when she cast by Vidhu Vinod Chopra in his period drama 1942: A Love Story. The movie, which had an ensemble cast including Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Danny Denzongpa, Pran and Anupam Kher was critically acclaimed and emerged to be a box-office hit.

The actress followed her success in 1942: A Love Story with a string of power-packed performances in 1995. She gave a stellar performance in her first release of the year, the highly acclaimed Tamil film Bombay (1995) directed by Mani Ratnam. The film, which marked her debut in the Tamil film industry was a huge commercial hit. For her stellar performance in the film, Manisha won a Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Actress and also the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Performance. In the same year, she appeared in Mansoor Khan`s romantic musical film, Akele Hum Akele Tum opposite Mr. Perfectionist of Bollywood, Aamir Khan. The film received rave critical reviews and it emerged to be one of the biggest hits that year. Later, in the same year, the actress starred in Sanjay Leela Bhansali`s directorial debut, Khamoshi: The Musical. The movie also featuring Salman Khan and Nana Patekar had the actress playing the role of Annie, a caring daughter to deaf and mute parents. The movie got critical acclaim and grossed more than 77 crores INR.

A couple of years later, in 1997, the actress once again showed her supreme acting skills when she appeared in a lead role in Gupt: The Hidden Truth opposite Bobby Deol and Kajol. The movie turned out to be one of the biggest hits that year. The following year, the actress once again collaborated with the stalwart director, Mani Ratnam for Dil Se.. co-starring Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta. Although the film got good reviews and Manisha for her performance in the movie won a nomination at the Filmfare Awards for Best Actress, the movie bombed at the box office.

The actress had quite a busy year in 1999; she had six releases in the same year and the most notable film was Indra Kumar`s Mann opposite Aamir Khan. The movie, where she played the role of a traffic accident victim got positive reviews and was a huge commercial hit. Her performance in the movie as well as the on-screen chemistry with Aamir Khan was much appreciated.

At the start of the millennium, the actress had already worked for more than a decade and established herself as one of the most talented and accomplished actresses in the industry. In 2000, the actress added one more feather to her already illuminating career cap as she made her debut on TV as the host of Sawaal Dus Crore Ka alongside Anupam Kher. The following year, the actress starred in the Shashilal K. Nair`s drama, Grahan opposite Jackie Shroff where she played the role of a rape victim who fights for her justice. Although the film tanked at the box office, Manisha`s role was appreciated. She next played the lead role in Rajkumar Santhoshi`s critically acclaimed Lajja. The movie, which had an ensemble cast including Anil Kapoor, Rekha and Madhuri Dixit received positive reviews and so did Manisha`s performance.

Manisha Koirala continued her good run in 2002 as she starred in Ram Gopal Varma`s Company opposite Ajay Devgn. The movie, which was a fiction count loosely based on India`s underworld mafia known as D-Company run by Dawood Ibrahim received great critical reviews and went on to become one of the highest-grossing films that year. For her stellar performance in the movie, the actress walked away with her third Filmfare Critics` Best Actress Award. In the same year, the actress featured in Shashilal K. Nair`s much controversial movie titled, Ek Chhotisi Love Story. The movie, which showcases a teenager`s infatuation with an older woman generated a strong response at the box office.

In 2003, Manisha Koirala starred in a couple of low-budget films viz. Escape from Taliban and Market and both the films were moderately successful at the box-office. The following year, the actress turned producer and produced the caper-comedy Paisa Vasool in where she also played the lead role with Sushmita Sen. At the time of its release, it was a one-of-a-kind movie as it did not have a male lead nor a love story. After her production debut failed at the box office, the actress starred in various unsuccessful films in 2005 and 2006 except Taj Mahal: An Eternal Love (2005), Tum - A Dangerous Obsession (2005) and Anjaane - The Unknown (2006), which received decent critical reviews. The following year in 2007, the actress had only one release, Anwar where she played a supporting role alongside her brother, Siddharth Koirala. In 2008, the actress appeared in a leading role after a gap of three years in Ajay Kumar`s Tulsi opposite Irrfan Khan. While the movie received poor reviews, Manisha`s performance as a young housewife who is diagnosed with blood cancer was well received by the critics. In the same year, the actress made her Bengali film debut in the Rituparno Ghosh directed Khela. The movie also featuring Prasenjit and Raima Sen in prominent roles got mixed critical reviews.

With no significant offers coming her way in the Bollywood industry, the actress turned to the South Indian film industry. In 2010, she made her foray into the Malayalam film industry with Shyamprasad`s Elektra. The film premiered at the International Film Festival of India where it got a positive response. In the same year, after a gap of almost 22 years since her first film, Manisha Koirala featured in a Nepali-language film titled Dharmaa. The following year, in 2011, the actress played the role of a rich and arrogant businesswoman in the Dhanush and Hansika Motwani starrer, Mappillai. The movie directed by Suraj was the remake of the 1989 film of the same title starring superstar Rajinikanth and Amala. For her brilliant performance in the movie, Manisha Koirala earned a nomination at the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress - Tamil and the movie too was declared a commercial hit. She next featured in the anthology film I Am directed by Onir. The film featuring an ensemble cast including Juhi Chawla, Rahul Bose, Nandita Das, Arjun Mathur and Sanjay Suri got rave critical reviews.

For her next film, Manisha Koirala collaborated with Ram Gopal Varma for Bhoot Returns. The 3D horror film was the sequel to the 2003 film Bhoot, which was also directed by Varma. The movie released in October 2012 and although it got mixed reviews, it was an above-average hit at the box office. The actress`s 2016 releases include the Kannada movie Oru Melliya Kodu and a Malayalam movie titled Edavapathi directed by Lenin Rajendran. Her other movies include Dear Maya (2017), Sanju (2018), Prassthanam and Maska (2020). Her 2021 release includes the musical romantic film 99 Songs, directed by Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy.