This fine theatre actor made an impact with his small but memorable role in Dil Se back in 1998. Though Piyush Mishra had a role in Ketan Mehta’s Sardar and also in popular TV series on Doordarshan, Bharat Ek Khoj, it were mainstream Bollywood films like Maqbool, Gulaal and, recently, Rockstar that fetched his acting prowess due recognition.
“Though ‘how to sustain yourself’ is a big question, I still don’t compromise on the choice of roles. I cannot do a role that I cannot relate with,” says Mishra, who left theatre in Delhi in 2003 and moved completely to films in Mumbai.
The actor, who was in city for Chandigarh Literature Festival (CLF), wears many feathers in his cap. He is also a lyricist, composer, dialogue writer and singer.
He stood out for his performance in critically acclaimed film, Gulaal, directed by Anurag Kashyap in 2009. He also wrote and sang its tracks, such as Ye Duniya.
“Gulaal was a result of mavericks coming together and trying something different. The effort was made to invoke the younger generation in their MTV kind of language and it hit the nail,” he adds.
Mishra has had two back-to-back successes, as an actor in Rockstar and a dialogue writer for Agneepath. “I am happy that Rockstar has been well received. Imtiaz, a good friend, did a fantastic job with the film,” says the actor who avers that dialogue writing for him is more about precision and understanding of different situations and layers in a film.
Next in line for him are Ghayal Returns and Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur, though he does not reveal much about his role. Gangs of Wasseypur, he says, is expected to hit theatres in June-July this year and the audience would “love the movie”.
“Good thing about today’s cinema is that it is seeing excellent experimentation and audience is receiving it well too,” says the actor who adds that times have changed too. “I cannot write songs like Kolaveri D but I cannot ignore the viral success it received,” he says.
His session at CLF with Neelam Mansingh on music in theatre also revealed his lesser-known side—he has produced music for several of his stage productions during his theatre days in the ’90s.
“Now we have the luxury of full orchestra, back then even harmonium was a bonus. But it gave us an opportunity to convert every possible sound into quality music for our play,” says this 1986-passout from National School of Drama.