Heeramandi: Actress Manisha Koirala reveals she stayed in water for 12 hours for fountain sequence 

Manisha Koirala made her Bollywood return with Heeramandi Netflix series.
Bollywood actor Manisha Koirala played a major role in Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar. Photo Courtesy: Manisha Koirala Instagram page 

Actress Manisha Koirala, who is recovering from cancer, on Sunday said she had to stay immersed in the water inside a fountain for 12 hours while shooting for a sequence in the Sanjay Leela Bhansali-directed Netflix series Heeramandi.

Writing a long post on Instagram about her Bollywood comeback and fight against cancer, Koirala, who has worked in several hit movies in the 90s, said: ” The fountain sequence proved the most physically challenging. It required me to be immersed in a water fountain for over 12 hours. That tested my resilience! Even though Sanjay had thoughtfully ensured that the water was warm and clean, over the hours, the water turned muddy, (because my team members, the Cinematographer, and the art director’s team were getting into the water to work around the scene.)”

She said the incident clearly showed she passed her critical physical test.

“Every single pore in my body was soaked in that muddy water. Even though I was beyond exhaustion by the end of the shoot, I felt a deep happiness within my heart. My body had taken the stress and remained resilient. I knew I had passed a critical physical test,” she said.

She further said: “To you, who think your time has come and gone, whether it’s due to age, illness or any setback, never give up! You never know what could be waiting for you around the bend!”

The actress described the series as a significant milestone in her career.

She said: “Heeramandi has been a significant milestone. As a 53-year-old actor who has bagged an important role in a high-profile web series, I am overjoyed that I’m not stuck playing insignificant peripheral roles, thanks to OTT platforms and changing audience profiles. Finally, female actors, technicians, and other professionals have started getting the long overdue and well-deserved good quality of work and respect in a professional environment. I am fortunate to be a part of this evolving era.”

Speaking on her fight against cancer, she wrote: “Today, when I am receiving so many accolades, I can’t help but remember the doubts and anxiety that plagued me when I was about to start shooting. Still recovering from the dreaded C, would my body be strong enough to deal with the intense shooting schedules, heavy costumes, and jewelry, and perform a role requiring so much nuance and effortless effort?”

Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar is an Indian Urdu-language period drama series created and directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Koirala played the role of Mallikajaan.

The series is about the lives of tawaifs (courtesans) in the red-light district of Heera Mandi in Lahore during the Indian independence movement against the British Raj.