His FILMS usually come with a message and it’s no different this time. Sanjay Mishra’s upcoming film, Kadvi Hawa, explores climate change and its impact in India. In the film Mishra plays Hedu, a 65-year-old blind man who lives in perennial fear of his debt-ridden son committing suicide. “How I deal with this matter at hand and how it impacts the larger picture of conservation and climate change is the rest of the story,” says Mishra, 54, on a visit to Delhi to promote the film. Directed by Nilab Madhab Panda, whose last critically acclaimed outing was I Am Kalam (2011), Kadvi Hawa looks at climate change specifically in the regions of Bundelkhand and coastal Odisha.
Mishra may have had a checkered history with success but over the last few years has emerged as the posterboy of indie cinema in India. He began his career with some blink-and-miss roles in TV and dabbled in advertisements before getting noticed for his comic timing in the famous ‘90s sitcom Office Office. But it was the whimsical Ankhon Dekhi (2014) that finally got Mishra the attention he deserved. “I was happy with both these phases. Because I had no pressure to be successful, I have explored all possible facets of being an actor. Jitna stretch kar sakta tha main apne aap ko, maine kiya (I stretched myself as much as I could). If I had the trappings of success, I might not have explored myself,” says Mishra. “If we get everything instantly we don’t value it. Paani hai na Gangaji main, so those towns don’t value its worth,” he adds.
For Kadvi Hawa, which also stars Ranvir Shorey and Tilottma Shome, Mishra had to undergo severe physical and mental transformation to play a bind man hell bent on changing the situation in the region. “The key is to dissolve and forget the real Sanjay Mishra. Only then shall a Hedu be born. Also I feel very gratified when I play grounded characters. Apne desh ki currency apne hi desh main chalti hai (One’s currency works in one’s own country only). Imagine me doing a slick, sophisticated ad,” says Mishra.
While most of his films have had social and political undertones, he says it’s a subconscious rather than a conscious choice. “Let’s give something to the society. If even one person is inspired after watching Kadvi Hawa and does his/her bit to save the environment, I will be satisfied,” says Mishra, whose upcoming films include Amit Masurkar’s Newton, Rohit Shetty’s Golmaal Again and Rajat Arora’s Badshaaho.