I did good films because of Ashok Mehta: Manisha

MANISHA KOIRALA TREATED late cinematographer Ashok Mehta as her mentor, guide and philosopher and says she did good films because he guided her.


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Published: Mon 20 Aug 2012, 11:16 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 10:01 PM

“I can’t explain what Ashokji meant to me. I am what I am because of him,” said the actress, who played the lead role in Mehta’s directorial debut Moksha.

Manisha attributes all the right moves in her career to Mehta, who died on August 15 after battling lung cancer. He was 65.

“He did the cinematography of my first film Saudagar. From then on Ashokji was my guide, mentor and philosopher. I have to say he contributed a lot to my career.

“I was clueless about the film industry. So, when Mani Ratnam asked me to come to Chennai to do a screen-test for Bombay, I refused. Yes, I didn’t know much about Mani Ratnam except that he had made a film called Roja. If it wasn’t for Ashokji I wouldn’t have done Bombay,” she said.

“I was like, ‘Why should I do a look test? Why should I play a mother to twin boys? And why should I work for so little money?’

“So many people advised me not to do it. Ashokji fired the hell out of me. He told me about Mani’s greatness and literally packed me off to Chennai.

I did good films because he guided me... Ashokji held my hand and guided me. No wonder I feel bereft,” added Manisha, who turned 42 on August 16.

She organised a bash to celebrated the occasion, but cancelled the party after hearing the news of Mehta’s demise.

When Mehta directed his first feature film Moksha, Manisha was the natural choice for the lead. “He narrated Moksha to me during Saudagar. It took him 10 years to make it. I was close not just to Ashokji but also to his wife and family,” she said.

Manisha and Mehta were collaborating on a film on the life of Gautam Buddha.

“When I got the offer to direct a film on Gautam Buddha from Sri Lanka, the first thing I did was contact Ashokji. I didn’t even know that he was already diagnosed with cancer. He was so full of life.”

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