Manisha Koirala rejects, Antara Mali grabs the part in Amol Palekar’s next

Manisha Koirala is looking for meaty roles at this point of her career. So when the redoubtable Amol Palekar offered her a role in his new film, the prolific director’s first in English, Manisha jumped with joy. Amol has extracted exceptional performances from his female actors including Deepti Naval in Ankahee, Anita Kanwar in Thodasa Roomani Ho Jayen and Rani Mukherjee in Paheli. Manisha expected the prolific Palekar to offer her yet another opportunity to relive her golden days of Khamoshi The Musical, Bombay and Dil Se. But to her dismay the role in Palekar’s film was just a cameo. “I’d have loved to work with Amolji. It was an interesting character, that of a Buddhist monk. I’d have given my right arm to play the role, if only I had at least two scenes …achcha chalo, only one meaty scene. I’ve never believed in measuring my roles in terms of playing time. Lekin kuch to hona chahiye…” Manisha had to reluctantly say no. “It broke my heart because I’m heavily into Buddhism. And I want to work with Amolji.” The role has now gone to Antara Mali who after specially-written parts in Ram Gopal Varma’s Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon and Naach slips into cameo kingdom and also happily shaves off her tresses to play the monk. Manisha too had no problem with shaving off her hair. The problem was the scarcity of meat in the part.

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