Shakespeare wrote all about looking honor and death in the eye, and looking on both indifferently. But that is exactly what some of our celebrities have done. Even as we mourn Irrfan, we remember his words when he first learnt about his illness, “I have never given up and have always fought for my choices and always will…” That’s a true Bollywood hero, living life on his own terms even till the last of his days.
While nothing we can say or do, to bring back the legendary actor. We should however never forget to applaud those heroes who have cracked a punch in the face of their adversary, off screen when no cameras were rolling. Heroes that gave us a chance to hope.
“I am absolutely fantastic, even with the hole in my brain, my spirit is intact”- This was Hrithik Roshan, as he rolled out of the OT post his Neurothrombectomy in 2013, his father who is was diagnosed with cancer, has the same spirit.
“Tongue is really the worse place to get cancer. You cannot drink anything, you cannot taste anything, even after the chemotherapy it doesn’t just go back to normal. Things don’t taste the way they should. But even my doctors told me, ‘you have spirit’ the medication and radiation I suffered was higher than the normal, it made me weak but today I am gymming 90 minutes everyday with my trainer and looking forward to Krrish 4.”
She might not want be wear the “cancer survivor tag as a badge” all her life, but after being diagnosed with cancer which had already reached stage 4 and taking it all in her stride, the way she did it – the respect and love she enjoyed, just multiplied amongst her fans and loved ones.
“I didn’t want to go to New York, I didn’t want to move away from my family, my life but when I realized how Goldie was just not giving up, I knew I had to give me best too!” A true hero, always values her strengths, even when it comes from the outside rather than within. “I am happy now, people give me strange looks when I say that but I mean it. And I will tell you why, I am now paying attention to every moment, looking for every opportunity to find joy…” these are the words of a warrior who even cancer couldn’t bring down.
Early 2013, Manisha Koirala finally defeated cancer in New York. In her book Healed: How Cancer Gave Me A New Life, Koirala has gone on record to say how she was on a vodka diet, how her unhappiness, despite the fame and success, sent her on a downward spiral.
The admission and the facts the actor has shared in her book tells you just one thing. Our heroes are also human, they bleed, they cry and they also need attention, the only thing that keeps them going is that grit to not give up.
Filmmaker and father of Hritik Roshan, Rakesh Roshan was diagnosed with early stage of squamous cell carcinoma, a type of throat cancer in 2019.
Rakesh Roshan said that he resumed work merely one day after his operation. He says he was determined not to give in to the physical exhaustion the consequent chemotherapy cycles would have on him.
We would have never known how fantastic a director he is, had he not soldiered cancer in 2004. Some of his best works are those he wrote while he battled the illness. “I didn’t want to juice up my tragedy so I have refrained from making a movie (on his fight with cancer) so far…” But Basu assures us, that he has a script ready from his time at the hospital.
Perhaps it is this creative mind, that doesn’t succumb to the numbness and pain of Chemotherapy that has been Basu’s greatest strengths. “Believe me, cancer made me much more responsible as a person, as a filmmaker.”
In 2009, the Indian-born actress was diagnosed with multiple Myeloma (another type of blood cancer). Ray kept herself away from any kind of media attention and fought her illness for over a year coming out victorious.
In 2010, she made a public announcement saying that she had a full stem cell replacement and was cancer-free, but, not fully cured as this disease is treatable but not curable.
Between surviving and thriving, Tahira Kashyap Khurranna chose the latter. A filmmaker and wife of Bollywood actor Ayushmann Khurranna, Tahira was diagnosed with Stage Zero cancer last year – a time when her actor husband’s career had been peaking with hits such as Andhadhun and Badhaai Ho.
While Ayushmann may have been 2018’s most successful actor, Tahira has been a real star. From posting pictures of her bald head to showing her scars, her posts have carried messages of hope for many women who go through breast cancer silently to avoid embarrassment.