By Manpreet Kaur
New Delhi, July 1 (IANS) She calls herself a cancer graduate, swears by the prowess of yoga and is penning a book on the disease. All this while Indian-Canadian actress Lisa Ray has been itching to return to Bollywood, which according to her is growing by leaps and bounds internationally.
"India has started to make an international impact and we are going from strength to strength. The kind of films that are being made now, the scripts...the way films are being made keeping in mind the global audience and also the technology advancements... It is growing by leaps and bounds," Lisa told IANS.
Ray, who made her Bollywood debut in 2001 with "Kasoor", received critical acclaim for her performance in Deepa Mehta's "Water".
The actress was going strong with a string of films like "Bollywood/Hollywood", "I Can't Think Straight", "Kill Kill Faster Faster" and "Cooking with Stella" when suddenly in 2009 she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma -- a rare cancer of the bone marrow.
But the actress says she was undeterred by the experience and looks back at the phase in a positive light.
"I have been through a difficult period and I was very open about it. There are many lessons that I learnt during that phase of my life. I call myself a cancer graduate now. Now I am more prepared and enthusiastic about life. I am excited to re-engage with life," she said.
The 39-year-old, who was born to a Polish mother and Bengali father, made her cinematic debut in 1994 in Tamil film "Nethaji".
These days she is busy penning a book. "Life has taken a new turn and I feel blessed and rewarded. I am happy to be alive. I am working on opening a yoga studio in Canada and also writing a book on cancer awareness."
She says the life threatening disease has made her realise the importance of life.
"After suffering from such a life-threatening phase, I have realised that life is too important to take it for granted. I take complete care of my health, I eat healthy, keep note of my medicines and yoga is a great help. The fact that I have always believed in yoga and have been doing it since last 12 years can be the reason I have so much hope and energy within."
She says that relationships have become more important to her now.
"I believe that relationships with people who really love and care for you help you survive. I have learnt it the hard way that one should give enough time to relationships that matter," she said.
When asked about the status of her relationship with fashion photographer Paolo Zambaldi, she said: "I am not looking forward to marrying some time very soon, but I am enjoying this phase with him right now. I wish and hope that life gets better after this."
The actress refused to divulge details about her upcoming project but maintained that she is raring to make a comeback. "I have a big project coming up, but it is not the right time to reveal this."
"I can't wait to get back into films with a nice juicy project. Though I don't plan anything, I will wait for something that really interests me. I am in no hurry to load myself with work and anyway I will have to wait for my hair to grow long to work in a film," she says.
(Manpreet Kaur can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)