I Don’t Want A Silent Death: Varun Interviews Piyush Mishra
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Things have a way of falling into place. Mihir Pandya, my friend and a scholar at DU, wanted a guest-post on his blog (www.mihirpandya.com), I had been living in the constant hum and pound of Gulaal’s soundtrack for more than two weeks, and Piyush Mishra happened to magically appear in front of me at Prithvi Theatre one fine day. A bit unsure, I walked up to him and asked for an interview – quickly adding that we will only talk politics, poetry and theatre. He seemed to agree without much thought and, three days later, I got this interview.
He didn’t talk at length, or coherently, but considering how quick and edgy he is with his words, the meat and volume can’t be overlooked. The restlessness of his music is very much visible in his words and philosophy. Coming at a time when the Indian ‘Left’ is seen struggling with its purpose and future, Piyush Mishra’s views (recorded before the Lok Sabha election results and Laalgarh) gain more prophetic value and could easily be termed as ‘Confessions of a has-been leftist’. But then, look beyond, and you will find he is much more than a has-been. He is the lone voice of sanity, riding on insane, at times arbitrarily directed anger, in today’s mass-media called Cinema. He is, in spite of a plain refusal when asked, a poet before an actor, and an activist before a performer.
Note: The questions were compiled by Mihir Pandya and Himanshu Pandya. Interview venue is Prithvi Theatre café in Mumbai, and it was conducted on 4th April 2009.
About Piyush Mishra:
Piyush Mishra, some of us will remember from ‘Dil Se’ (the hard-skinned cop in the final minutes of the film), but some others – luckier ones – who were following the Delhi theatre scene in the early 90s, would remember him as the fiery-eyed singer-composer-actor from N.K. Sharma’s theatre group ‘Act One’, one of the finest theatre groups in one of its finest years. He went on to work with another group ‘Asmita’, post-1996, and landed a small role in Mani Ratnam’s film in 1998.
Though he worked in Vishal Bharadwaj’s ‘Maqbool’ and wrote a grand mix of sufi-rock for ‘Black Friday’, his recent work in Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Gulaal’ pulled him up to the silvery-edge where pop-icons meet poet-ideologues. It seems, for a flickering moment, that his 23-year-long struggle (he passed out of NSD in 1986) has finally reaped numbers, but then, the next moment, he gives a feeling that he doesn’t care. Considered reclusive by shiny ‘Bollywood’ standards, Piyush Mishra is busy writing his upcoming films and, who knows, another anthem for lost souls.
Detailed bio and filmography at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piyush_Mishra
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