Another Koirala eyes Bollywood

April 10th, 2009 - 5:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Akshay Kumar By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, April 10 (IANS) Almost two decades after Nepali beauty Manisha Koirala succeeded in carving out a niche for herself in India’s fiercely competitive film industry Bollywood, a second aspirant from the Himalayan republic is trying to follow in her footsteps.

It is a 28-year-old hunk from Kathmandu, Kanij Koirala, who could succeed where former Miss Nepal Jharana Bajracharya failed, since besides sharing the illustrious Koirala family name, Kanij has also caught the eye of India’s showbiz authorities by making it to the top 10 of a recent pageant for men.

Kanij, the son of a UN official, strode through 10,000 applicants to make it to the top 10 in the Gladrags Manhunt 2009 before being pipped at the grand finale in Mumbai by Sonepat lad Prateek Balhara.

The 6ft1″ Kanij, who looks rugged with his shoulder-long hair, has caught the eye of Bollywood director Sajid Khan, whose comedy “Heyy Baby” in 2007 cast Akshay Kumar, Fardeen Khan and Riteish Deshmukh in the roles of three love-struck young men pressed into baby-sitting with disastrous results.

Khan has offered a role to the new Koirala on the block, Nepal’s leading daily Kantipur said. Two debutant Bollywood directors, whose names were not revealed, were also said to have shown interest in signing him up.

In the past, the Gladrags contests for men as well as women have given Bollywood its stars John Abraham and Lara Dutta.

After storming Bollywood in 1991 with her debut film Saudagar directed by Subhash Ghai, Manisha Koirala, the granddaughter of Nepal’s first elected prime minister B.P. Koirala, went on to become a diva with such acclaimed hits as “Bombay”, “Akele Hum Akele Tum” and “Khamoshi”.

However, her career started waning from 2003 and she became unpopular in her own homeland by supporting King Gyanendra, who tried to seize absolute power with an army-backed coup.

Though Manisha tried to push the career of her brother Siddharth in Bollywood, he managed to hit the headlines more for his romance with Bollywood siren Ayesha Takia than meaningful roles.

After Manisha and Siddharth, a third Nepali talent tried to enter Bollywood.

The smouldering Jharana Bajracharya, who was Miss Nepal in 1997, was signed up by a Bollywood director for his thriller “Love in Nepal” where singer Sonu Nigam tried his hand at becoming a leading man.

However, the film bombed at the box office and Jharana was criticised at home for showing too much skin.

Kanij Koirala is not related to Manisha or Siddharth and is remembered in Kathmandu not as an aspiring model but as an avid trekker.

Nepal’s fledgling film industry is considered too tiny to confer stardom and models, actors and singers cherish dreams of making it big in neighbour India.

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