Manisha Koirala (pronounced [məniːʂaː koːɪraːlaː]; born 16 August 1970) is a Nepali actress who predominantly works in Indian films. Born to the politically prominent Koirala family, she is the daughter of Prakash Koirala and granddaughter of Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala, the 22nd Prime Minister of Nepal. She is the recipient of several accolades, including three Filmfare Awards, a Filmfare Award South and a Screen Award. In 2001, the Kingdom of Nepal awarded her with the Order of Gorkha Dakshina Bahu, the second highest honour of the country.
Koirala made her acting debut with the Nepali film Pheri Bhetaula (1989) while studying in school. Initially aspiring to become a doctor, she had a brief stint in modeling, and went on to make her Bollywood debut with Saudagar (1991). Following a series of commercial failures, Koirala established herself as a leading actress with 1942: A Love Story (1994) and the Tamil-language Bombay (1995), subsequently starring in a series of commercial successes, including Agni Sakshi (1996), Indian (1996), Gupt: The Hidden Truth (1997), Kachche Dhaage (1999), Company (2002) and Ek Chhotisi Love Story (2002). She received critical recognition for her portrayal of the daughter of deaf-mute parents in Khamoshi: The Musical (1996), a terrorist in Dil Se.. (1998), a mistreated woman in Lajja (2001) and Sushmita Banerjee in Escape from Taliban (2003).
Post-2003, Koirala began to work with independent film makers in art-house projects and in regional films. Her performance in the drama Tulsi (2008), the Malyalam psychological drama Elektra (2010), the anthology I Am 2010) and the romantic comedy Mappillai (2011) was praised. She took a break from acting after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012 and returned five years later with the coming-of-age woman-centric drama Dear Maya (2017). The next year, she featured in the Netflix production Lust Stories and the biography Sanju; the latter ranks as her highest-grossing release.
In addition to acting in films, Koirala is a stage performer and has contributed as an author to the novel Healed, an account of her struggle with ovarian cancer. Koirala was appointed as the Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund in 1999 and 2015, and was involved in the relief works after the April 2015 Nepal earthquake. She promotes causes such as women's rights, prevention of violence against women, prevention of human trafficking and cancer awareness.