Manisha Koirala Endures Seven-Hour Shoot for Single ‘Heeramandi’ Scene, Appeals to Bhansali for Health-Conscious Schedule


In her latest role in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s eight-part series, “Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar,” Manisha Koirala has transformed into the cunning and formidable Mallikajaan, a performance that she describes as both challenging and fulfilling. The celebrated actor, at 53, acknowledged the difficulty of her role, particularly in the initial scenes where she struggled to perfect the character’s tone.

In a recent interview with Zoom, Koirala revealed the extensive preparations required to embody the complex character, stating, “The initial scenes were the most difficult when I was not able to get the right ‘sur’ (tone) of my character.” She added that she had to “do a lot of homework” and studied the physical gait and mannerisms typical of Mallikajaan to convincingly portray her on screen.

Exclusive Manisha Koirala reveals how Mallika Jaan in Heeramandi consumed  her - India Today

Language was another hurdle for Koirala, who is originally from Nepal. The role required her to speak Urdu fluently, a challenge given her limited experience with the language. “When I read the script, I realized Mallikajaan has lengthy dialogues, and I didn’t know Urdu. I know Hindustani but needed to work hard on my Urdu. Urdu was the fourth language I had to learn for the character,” she explained. To overcome this, Koirala worked closely with an Urdu dialect coach, Munira Ji, who is also her neighbor. They practiced during commutes, focusing intensively on getting the diction just right.

Adding to the authenticity of her portrayal, Koirala delved deep into the psychology of Mallikajaan, exploring her character’s background, traumas, and ambitions without relying on similar previous roles or any other references. Drawing inspiration from her grandmother, a dancer, she also worked on adopting the appropriate physical posture for her role.

Manisha Koirala on reuniting with Sanjay Leela Bhansali for Heeramandi 28  years after Khamoshi: 'I have seen him grow as an artist' | Bollywood News  - The Indian Express

One particular scene that highlights her dedication involved Koirala sitting for seven hours while henna was applied to her hands, all to ensure the scene’s perfection. “I didn’t get up because I wanted the scene to be perfect and I kept sitting for seven hours because I wanted to navigate the character and understand her,” she disclosed.

Manisha Koirala’s relentless commitment to her role in “Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar” not only showcases her skills as an actor but also her determination to bring depth and authenticity to the intriguing character of Mallikajaan.