Manisha Koirala (pronounced [mʌˈnisa ˈkoirala]) is a Nepalese actress who works in Indian films, predominantly in Hindi and Tamil films and has also worked in few Telugu, Bengali, Malayalam, Nepali and English films. Known for her work in both commercial and independent cinema, she is the recipient of several accolades, including four Filmfare Awards. In 2001, the Government of Nepal awarded her with the Order of Gorkha Dakshina Bahu, the second highest honor of the country. Born to the politically prominent Koirala family, she is the daughter of Prakash Koirala and granddaughter of Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala, former Prime Minister of Nepal. Koirala made her acting debut with the Nepali film Pheri Bhetaula (1989), and went on to feature in the Hindi drama Saudagar (1991). Following a series of commercial failures, she established herself as a leading actress with the romantic dramas 1942: A Love Story (1994) and the Tamil-language Bombay (1995). She subsequently starred in a series of commercial successes, including Agni Sakshi (1996), Indian (1996), Gupt: The Hidden Truth (1997), Kachche Dhaage (1999), Mudhalvan (1999), Company (2002) and Ek Chhotisi Love Story (2002). Koirala received critical recognition for her portrayals of characters in varied genres: an ambitious wife in Akele Hum Akele Tum (1995), the daughter of deaf-mute parents in Khamoshi: The Musical (1996), a terrorist in Dil Se. (1998), a mistreated woman in Lajja (2001) and Sushmita Banerjee in Escape From Taliban (2003). Post-2003, Koirala began to work with independent film makers in art-house projects and in regional films. Her performances in the drama Tulsi (2008), the Malayalam psychological drama Elektra (2010), the anthology I Am (2010) and the romantic comedy Mappillai (2011) were praised. She took a break from acting after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012 and returned five years later with the coming-of-age drama Dear Maya (2017). The following year, she featured in the Netflix production Lust Stories and the biography Sanju; the latter ranks among the highest-grossing Indian releases. In addition to acting in films, Koirala was appointed as the Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund in 1999 for India and 2015 for Nepal, and was involved in the relief works after the April 2015 Nepal earthquake. She promotes causes such as women's rights, prevention of violence against women, prevention of human trafficking and cancer awareness, contributing as an author to the novel Healed: an account of her struggle with ovarian cancer.
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