Bollywood’s fight club: From Sonali Bendre to Rishi Kapoor, celebs who are cancer survivors
Photo credit: Instagram/Sonali Bendre

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…

Like father like son

Bollywood’s fight club: From Sonali Bendre to Rishi Kapoor, celebs who are cancer survivors
Photo Credit: Instagram/Hrithik Roshan

“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.”

Sonali Bendre

Bollywood’s fight club: From Sonali Bendre to Rishi Kapoor, celebs who are cancer survivors
Photo Credit: Instagram/Sonali Bendre

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.

Manisha Koirala

Bollywood’s fight club: From Sonali Bendre to Rishi Kapoor, celebs who are cancer survivors
Photo Credit: Instagram/Manisha Koirala

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.

Anurag Basu

Bollywood’s fight club: From Sonali Bendre to Rishi Kapoor, celebs who are cancer survivors
Photo Credit: Instagram/Anurag Basu

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.”

Rishi Kapoor

Bollywood’s fight club: From Sonali Bendre to Rishi Kapoor, celebs who are cancer survivors
Photo Credit: Instagram/Rishi Kapoor

For nearly a year, Rishi Kapoor stayed in New York with his wife, Neetu and his fans could only see him through social media. While he smiled and posed for pictures, no one could miss those wrinkles, the tiredness of his eyes and the weakened physique of the actor. Yet, his humour was intact. On his return home, Rishi was quoted saying, “Cancer can be dealt with, but my biggest problem was having patience. It is traumatic of course, but I was lucky to have great support from Neetu. I lost a lot of weight, but I am gaining it back now, hopefully not as much as I used to weigh!”

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