Way back during the screen test for 1942: A Love Story, filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra had dismissed off Manisha Koirala as a “terrible actress”. Upset and defeated by his words, Manisha sprang into action the very next day, only to hear the magical words from Chopra, “If this is the heart and soul that you promise to put into each scene of my movie, I will sign you up instead of Madhuri Dixit. Manisha, yesterday, you were at zero. You are at a hundred today.”
Recalling this memorable episode in her memoir Healed: How Cancer Gave Me A New Life, Manisha writes, “I remember my screen test for 1942: A Love Story. Veteran filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra had called me to do a scene. But to my disappointment, at the end of it he remarked: 'Manisha, you were shit. You're a terrible actress.”
She further states, “This was not acceptable to me. The warrior woman inside me had been challenged. I requested him to give me twenty-four hours to come back for a second chance. Back home, I practised my lines passionately, over and over again, until my mother became distressed at my state.” ‘What are you doing to yourself? It's okay if you don't get this movie. Don't kill yourself over it,’ said her mother.
And, the next day, she won him over and the rest they say, is history. Manisha has overcome a tough battle against ovarian cancer and took a break from acting in 2012, only to return five years with Dear Maya, Netflix’s Lust Stories and Sanjay Dutt’s biographical drama, Sanju.