Manisha Koirala (pronounced [mʌˈnisa ˈkoirala]) is a Nepalese actress who is known for her work in Indian films. One of the most successful and critically acclaimed actress in 1990s and early 2000s known for her works in both commercial and art house 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 honour 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. Initially aspiring to become a doctor, she had a brief stint in modeling, and subsequently made her acting debut with the Nepali film Pheri Bhetaula (1989) while still in school. She later went on to feature in the Hindi drama film Saudagar (1991). Following a series of commercial failures, Koirala established herself as a leading actress with acclaimed patriotic romance 1942: A Love Story (1994) and the Tamil-language romantic drama Bombay (1995), subsequently starring in a series of commercial successes, including the thriller Agni Sakshi (1996), the vigilante action Indian (1996), the suspense thriller Gupt: The Hidden Truth (1997), the action thriller Kachche Dhaage, the Tamil-language political thriller Mudhalvan (both 1999), the gangster drama Company (2002) and the romance Ek Chhotisi Love Story (2002). She received critical recognition for her portrayal of an ambitious wife in the drama Akele Hum Akele Tum (1995), the daughter of deaf-mute parents in the musical romance Khamoshi: The Musical (1996), a terrorist in the romantic thriller Dil Se. (1998), a mistreated woman in the drama Lajja (2001) and Sushmita Banerjee in the biopic Escape From Taliban (2003). Post-2003, Koirala began to work with independent film makers in art-house projects and in regional films. Her performance in the drama Tulsi (2008), the Malayalam psychological drama Elektra (2010), the anthology I Am (2010) and the romantic comedy Mappillai (2011) was 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 is a stage performer and has contributed as an author to the novel Healed, an account of her struggle with ovarian cancer. 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.