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“Cancer affects all of us, whether you’re a daughter, mother, sister, friend, co-worker, doctor, or patient.” –Jennifer Aniston
Mumtaz was the heartthrob of the box office in the 1960’s. She suffered from breast cancer most part of her life. She had to give up her Bollywood career at an early age of 26 due to this disease. But, she kept combating with the disease and finally by the age of 54, she was as healthy as ever. She had to undergo strenuous multiple chemotherapies and surgeries; but she never lost the faith in herself and her doctors. Once she said in an interview that after her operation, her husband got her a wig to put on. But, she refused and later in 2010, she appeared in the UniGlobe Entertainments documentary on cancer survival ‘1 a Minute’.
In an interview with the Indian Express, she was quoted saying ,”Cancer helped me grow, appreciate life”.
The 45-year old actress who is best known for atypical roles like ‘Dil Se’ and ‘1942-A love Story’ had a tough time in the year 2012, when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She got treated in New York and bravely fought and won the battle. She used to ask the doctors to tell her more about her condition. She always updated her well-wishers and fans by posting the pictures of her chemotherapies. It has been more than 3 years since then and even after the treatment; she did two films- ‘Bhoot returns’ and ‘Chehre’.
Manisha, while addressing a session on “Cutting cancer down to size” on the sidelines of Times Litfest said , “I think cancer helps to transform a person… It affected me so much that it enabled me to grow, appreciate life and honour my body”.
Namrata Singh Gujral
Namrata is an Indian-American film-maker who is Sikh by faith. She is a breast cancer survivor who got treated once in 2008 and then underwent several intensive chemotherapies to overcome the Burkitt’s lymphoma in 2013. Namrata was part of a panel based show with cancer survivors on the Thrive Channel. She continued to help people be aware of the struggles of cancer survivors by featuring in a Uniglobe Entertainment’s cancer docu-drama.
In an interview to a Cancer Support Group, she said, ”Cancer is taken as a very negative concept in film-making, but I wanted to portray it positively and bring out the brighter side of its survival. If we have survived a disease of a magnitude like cancer, then it’s our social responsibility to give it back to society in the form of awareness.”
Lisa Ray, is one of the most beautiful models of the country and a Bollywood actress known for a her lead role in a controversial movie named ‘Water’. She was diagnosed with multiple Myeloma in 2009. This is a rare kind of cancer where the white blood cells get affected and weakens the person’s immunity . In most of the cases, the person loses his/her life. But in 2010, Lisa underwent Stem Cell Transplant and defeated this incurable disease. After that, she created awareness while advocating the cause of cancer. She also got happily married in the year 2012. Moreover, she even donated a part of her earnings from “Cooking with Stella” to the Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research in Los Angeles.
The Bollywood veteran actress who contributed to the industry with films like ‘Mother India’ and ‘Raat Aur Din’(National Award Winner), lost her life in the year 1981 while fighting the deadly Pancreatic Cancer. Though she couldn’t survive the disease; her battle was commendable. Even at the last stage of her life, she thought about other people. She asked her husband, ” Rich people can easily get a good treatment for cancer in international hospitals,but what about the poor people?. To fulfil her last wish, Sunil Dutt founded the ‘Nargis Dutt Cancer Foundation’.
We salute all these five Bollywood actresses who bravely fought this disease and helped create awareness. They are truly an inspiration for women who are fighting for their lives against cancer.