Manisha Koirala hopes to create magic with Ranbir Kapoor in Hirani's Sanjay Dutt biopic

The actress cited there is more than the 'Cancer' connection behind director Rajkumar Hirani casting her in the role of the legendary actress. 

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Shriram Iyengar

Manisha Koirala is returning to the big screen and how. The actress, whose long hiatus from the film industry due to ill health, will finally end with her appearance as Nargis Dutt on Rajkumar Hirani's biopic on Sanjay Dutt. While the filmmaker said that the decision to cast Koirala in the role was her fight with cancer, the actress refuted that. In an interview with an online website, she said, "I don’t think Raju (Hirani) offered me the role just because I went through the same illness. That is no qualification. The fact that Raju saw me worthy of playing Nargisji means a lot to me."

The actress now joins a cast of Ranbir Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Vicky Kaushal, Dia Mirza and Sonam Kapoor in Hirani's film. Incidentally, Koirala was also a co-star of Sanjay Dutt in several films. Speaking of the connection, she said, "Hopefully this time I will create some magic with Ranbir Kapoor who plays Sanjay Dutt. I am a big admirer of Ranbir’s work. I’ve seen his rushes as Sanjay Dutt. Ranbir is fantastic. No actor of his generation has the same passion to excel and make every character real and memorable. I think Ranbir has inherited this passion from his distinguished family. I’ve been waiting to get to work with Ranbir. Now I finally have that opportunity." 

As for the connection with Nargis, Koirala admitted that she has always been a fan of the legendary actress. She said, "Please, don’t even compare us. Nargisji is an iconic legendary figure. Her work, personality and reputation are very hard to enact. I am going to try my best...I’ve always been a fan of Nargisji. Who isn’t? And I’ve worked with Sanjay Dutt in a number of films, most of them forgettable." 

This will also be the first time Koirala will be working with Hirani. Having worked with stalwarts like Mani Ratnam and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the actress said it was an 'honour' to be working with the director. She said, "His work is so exemplary. Every actor wants to work with him. When I met him I was bowled over by his simplicity and humility. He is one of this country’s most influential directors. But he has no airs." She also added, "I have worked with the two other geniuses of our times Sanjay Bhansali and Mani Ratnam, now I am working with the third."

Hirani's biopic on Sanjay Dutt has already gone on the floors and is expected to be ready for theatrical release by Christmas this year.