Piyush Mishra Inetrview

In Conversation with the Incredible Piyush Mishra – 2020


piyush mishra
Piyush Mishra – In Conversation

About Piyush Mishra

Hailing from Gwalior in MP, Shri Piyush Mishra graduated from the National School of Drama in Delhi in 1986. He started his career with Hindi theater in Delhi and in 1990, helped start the theater group Act One, with founder-director N. K. Sharma and stage actors like Manoj Bajpai, Gajraj Rao and Ashish Vidyarthi. He moved to Mumbai in 2002 and over the next decade, he established himself as a theater director, actor, lyricist, and singer. He earned critical acclaim for his roles in Maqbool (2003) and Gangs of Wasseypur (2012).

As a film lyricist and singer, Piyush Mishra is noted for his songs “Arre Ruk Ja Re Bandeh” in Black Friday (2004), “Aarambh Hai Prachand” in Gulaal (2009), “Ik Bagal” in Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 1(2012), and “Husna” in MTV Coke Studio (2012).
Before taking you to our conversation, I would like the readers to sample the lyrics from Black Friday here (my personal favorite!)…. Powerful words, vivid imagery form the core of Piyush Mishra’s poetry as displayed here….
अर्रे रुक जा रे बंदे
अर्रे थम जा रे बंदे
की कुद्रत हंस पड़ेगी हो
अर्रे नींदे है जखमी
अर्रे सपने है भूखे
की करवट फॅट पड़ेगी हो
अर्रे मंदिर यह चुप है
अर्रे मसजिद यह गुम्सुम
इबादत तक पड़ेगी हो
समय की लाल आँधी
कब्रिस्तान के रास्ते
अर्रे लटपट चलेगी हो… (Performed by Indian Ocean)

Are you kicked?? I am, every time I hum the words!! Now the conversation with Piyush Mishra went as follows….

Me – Hello Piyushji, Thank you so much for sparing the time to speak with me. Please allow me to tell you that I’m a big fan of your work, be it acting, scriptwriting, or your lyrics!  So, what’s keeping you busy during these lockdown days?

PM – Hi Anirudh, Glad to hear that… my thanks to you…
I must say that the lockdown has been tough on everyone; I’ve been spending all my time at home with my family. I’ve also been helping my wife with the housework in the morning, write in the afternoon (whatever comes to mind), as you would understand that creativity needs an immediate outlet so I write…evenings are relaxing with family…

Me – Ok, now if Piyush Mishra hadn’t been an actor, what would you be?

PM – I not sure honestly, I would be living an ordinary life in Gwalior I guess. But I had to have this, you know, without my poetry or my theater I’m nothing… Piyush Mishra would just remain a common man!


Me – Must say that’s really focused on your part, in a way you are living your dream…. Which is your favorite role/character on the silver screen and if you were to enact it, what would you do differently?

PM – Quite a few, actually. I really look up to Kishore Kumar’s Padosan, I wish I could do it. Wouldn’t change anything, just want to enact that role because I liked it so much …

Me – Oh yeah! That was a brilliant characterization! Ok, which is your favorite movie of all time?

PM – The Godfather by Francis Ford Copolla and in India… well, a lot of them to complete a list.. Maqbool, Satya, Black Friday, Gangs of Wasseypur -1, Khosla ka Ghosla, all of Vijay Anand’s movies, Satyajit Ray’s Charulata & Pather Panchali, Meghe Dhaka Taara (Ritwick Ghatak), Basu Chatterjee’s movies, Ramesh Sippy’s movies….there are too many to name!

Me – Yeah, that’s very true…Which one do you find more challenging – Theater or Films?

PM – Well, can’t distinguish or compare like that, they are both vastly different mediums of storytelling and hence have different challenges.

Me – Ok….How important is self-marketing important in Bollywood to establish oneself?

PM – No idea, I haven’t marketed myself, so can’t say. But I guess, good work does get noticed, so only self-marketing won’t help anybody, you have to have a good body of work to get recognition.

Me – Yes, that’s there….now a rhetorical one….Will we ever see a digitized version of theater?

PM – (sounding scandalized) No no, not at all, the theater will die if you digitize it, it’s to be enjoyed live, there’s no other way, please don’t even talk about it! There’s no need to meddle with the purity of an art form.

Me – Right, now for a lighthearted one….Can you tell me any humorous story from your acting career?

PM – No separate story to recount, my entire journey in Mumbai has been a funny story if you look at it that way. I came here at the mature age of 40, my aim was to earn money, and like so many others I struggled. If I didn’t look at my entire journey as fun, including my struggling days, I wouldn’t have survived, so, no, there are no separate ‘funny’ stories, my entire journey has been FUN!

Me – That’s good to know. Now for a serious one….How critical is it to have a Godfather in Bollywood?

PM – I never had a Godfather, so I wouldn’t be able to tell you. Somebody influential liking your work does not make him your Godfather and every parent wants to help his/her son/daughter do well in life.. what’s wrong with that?? That’s not nepotism…
People do launch their family members in movies but if they didn’t have the talent, would they go far? No. So it all boils down to the talent one has, along with hard work that is the most important thing, not the presence of any Godfather…

Me – Yes, I totally agree with you on that. Well, to round it off now….After the lockdown ends, which film/serial will we see you next in?

PM – As of now, no plans. Wait and watch….
*The above conversation with Mr. Piyush Mishra was entirely in Hindi, which I have transliterated to some extent, to the best of my capabilities. Any errors are solely mine, not attributable to anybody else*

Any conversation with the multi-talented Piyush Mishra would be incomplete without his poetry, so I leave you with the following lines, which so so resonated with me!

‘दर्द की बारिशों में हम अकेले ही थे 
जब बरसी खुशियां, न जाने भीड़ कहां से आ गई’

इंसान खुद की नज़र में सही होना चाहिए,
दुनिया तो भगवान से भी दुखी है।
piyush mishra
Piyush Mishra – In Conversation

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