Mumbai: In the second phase of her career, Manisha Koirala says she plans to have a relaxed approach towards work and weigh in on her options.
Manisha's sabbatical from work came after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. She took a five-year break to recuperate and returned to the big screen with "Dear Maya".
Currently, she is awaiting the release of "Sanju", a biopic on actor Sanjay Dutt in which she plays Nargis Dutt, and basking in the critical acclaim coming her way for "Lust Stories".
"I don't intend to overwork myself. I intend to take it easy - work hard when it's required. I am having the best time of my life," Manisha told PTI.
There was, however, a phase when the actor found herself doing too much without the required satisfaction in return.
"I've been there done that. We are in a profession of 'out of sight out of mind', so one tends to be all the time on a roll. I had those tendencies initially in my career.
"Now I'm mindful about not getting into that space. When you're in your 20s, you've more energy and zeal. But in your 40s, you want to take it at a slower pace. Your world view changes, you become a different person," she says.
Manisha's career was defined by taking on films which were branded risque.
In the 1990s, the 47-year-old actor featured in memorable films like "Bombay", "1942: A Love Story" and "Khamoshi: The Musical".
"I wanted to do both off-beat and commercial films. When I was offered 'Bombay', people told me not to do it because I was playing a mother's role in my 20s and they thought in the next 10 years I'd be getting grandmother roles.
"But I listened to the other, wiser people who told me it'll be foolish to refuse a Mani Ratnam film. I am glad it helped me in the bargain," she says.
There is a notion that the female actors today have it easy when it comes to choosing roles which defy stereotypes as opposed to in the 1990s when Manisha was at the peak of her career. The actor says the easy access to world cinema to a greater audience is the gamechanger.
"Today, because there are world movies available on your phones, the audience is far more accepting of a different kind of storytelling. The filmmakers and writers come up with different kinds of stories and with that the actors get to play a variety of roles, which we didn't get (earlier).
"We were confined to certain stereotype. Today, the canvas has become wider. One can experiment with offers, people like the movies, there's much more scope now than what we had."
According to Manisha, this allows the actors to enjoy the freedom to choose roles and not be confined to melodrama, which, she says, she thoroughly enjoyed.
"The whole filmmaking style has changed. The younger generation is far more accepting to different kind of stories, there's more realism.
"Those days we did a lot of melodrama, didn't we? But I loved doing that. Dancing around the trees, those big wigs and puffed sleeves. I've done it all and enjoyed," she adds.