Manisha Koirala (born 16 August 1970) is a Nepali actress who mainly appears in Hindi and Tamil films , though she has worked in several South Indian and her native country's films. Noted for her acting prowess, Koirala is the recipient of several accolades, including four Filmfare Awards—and is one of India's most well-known actresses. Although the box-office collections from her films have varied considerably, critics have noted that her niche as an actor remains unharmed irrespective of her commercial potency. She was one of the highest paid actresses in the 1990s. She is amongst the few actresses who made a balance between commercial cinema and Parallel cinema (Art-house films). Koirala, not only was popular for her acting skills but was known for her beauty and is often referred as the 'most beautiful actress of her time'. Manisha was born into the politically prominent Koirala family, in which several of her family members went on to rule the nation, but she did not aspire to pursue a career in politics. A stint in modeling opened a career path in films, and she made her Bollywood debut with the top-grossing production Saudagar (1991). In spite of an initial struggle to leave a mark, she went on to establish herself as one of the leading actresses in the 1990s with such films as Yalgaar (1992), 1942: A Love Story (1994), Akele Hum Akele Tum (1995), Agni Sakshi (1996) and Gupt (1997). Koirala gained particular recognition for her willingness to experiment with a variety of strong, dramatic roles, and she delivered several acclaimed performances in a range of films that did well with critics, including Bombay (1995), Khamoshi: The Musical (1996), Dil Se.. (1998), Mann (1999), Lajja (2001), Company (2002) and Escape from Taliban (2003). These films brought Koirala several awards and nominations, including three Filmfare Critics Awards for Best Actress, a South Filmfare Award for Best Actress, and a Star Screen Award Best Actress, among others. After 2003, she began to work with independent film makers and ventured into Art-house and Parallel cinema as well as multiple regional films. During this time she was facing a decline in her career, due to the fact that most of her films failed to do well at the box office as they were mostly released without any notice or publicity, although her acting used to be praised for some films, such as Tulsi (film) (2008), opposite Irrfan Khan. Her work in the Malyalam drama Elektra, the anthology film I Am (both 2010), and the romantic comedy Mappillai (2011) were received well, but she took a break from acting in 2012 to return five years later with the coming-of-age woman-centric Drama Dear Maya (2017), where she was praised by the critics for her versatile performance. Koirala is divorced from businessman Samrat Dahal. She was appointed as the Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund in 1999 and 2015, and was involved in the relief works after the Nepal earthquake 2015. She promotes various causes such as women's rights, prevention of violence against women, prevention of human trafficking and cancer awareness. Her off-screen life is a subject of substantial media coverage. Koirala was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012 and has been cancer-free since 2015.
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