Gangs of Wasseypur actor Piyush Mishra on returning to theatre: 'My confidence is gone'
Paucity of money may have led actor Piyush Mishra astray from following the path of theatrics, but it couldn't stop him from for returning to the medium. His recently staged musical play titled Gagan Damama Bajyo in the Capital, in his words, is sort of coming "back to his roots" and marks his return to the art form after 16 years. "Delhi mein theatre karke pagal ho gaya tha. I did theatre here for 20 years. When I left from here, I was completely broken. Jab main yahan se gaya tha bahut exhausted gaya tha. Kuch nahin diya parivar ko kama kar. Aaj ki tareek mein main sampann hoon (I couldn't provide for my family. Today, I'm in position to provide and care for them)," says the actor who was seen in Pink (2016) and Gangs of Wasseypur (2012).
He shares that coming back to Delhi is "always special", since his roots are here. "NK Sharma (theatre veteran) had directed it when it opened at the Shri Ram Centre (in Mandi House) 25 years back. Yeh meri waapsi hai! My producer convinced to come back to it with this play. And when I did it, it was like coming back to my roots, which I was slowly forgetting. Apna khud ka likha hua play aur Sardar Bhagat Singh saamne hai. Phir kisi aur cheez pe pehla play kyun kare?" says Mishra, who is also credited for writing the dialogues of Ajay Devgn-starrer film The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002).
The recently staged musical chronicled key moments from the martyr's life - from his induction into revolutionary ideology as a child, exploring that ideology as a young man at the National College in Lahore in 1923, up until his death.
Ask him if theatre is self-sustaining now vis-a-vis earlier, and the NSD graduate, says, "Nahin hota. Usko liye cinema jaana padta hai. Film se bada koi option nahi hai (It doesn't happen. One has to take to cinema to survive. There is nothing bigger then films)," he says, adding, "A lot of people leave for this reason. In comparison to previous years, theatre is paying now, but you have to do it on their demands. Phir aap apna theatre nahin kar paate. Woh pay kar deta hai, lekin aap mann maar ke woh kaam karte hain jisko theatre kaha jaata hai. You have to struggle to do your choice of theatre. And, I have struggled a lot!"
On a lighter note, the actor talks about his latest passion, and how one can fin me time amid strenuous schedules today. "Vipassana [meditation] is my passion these days. I get a lot of free time even after this. Artists bewakoof banate hai ki humare paas time nahin rehta," he laughs.
Mention that his couplets are a hit with the millennials, and the lyricist-singer-scriptwriter says the trick is to connect with the younger lot. "Aap jis bhi generation se baat karte ho, usse uske waqt ki baat karo. There is no point living on memories of past. Talk to them as your friends," he says.
Since directed a musical, can we now expect to go back to acting on the stage? Startled at the thought, he says, "I can't say anything right now. Kaafi dum lagega theatre mein dobara samne aane mein. My confidence has gone (It'll take a lot of strength to make a comeback on the stage)."