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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The Piyush Mishra you probably don’t know: How he came out alive from ‘alcohol phase’, suffered a brain stroke

On Piyush Mishra's birthday, we revisit the time when he spoke openly about his alcohol addiction, his medical condition, and how director and close friend Vishal Bhardwaj's intervention helped him make a stunning recovery.

By: Entertainment Desk | New Delhi |
January 13, 2022 8:26:45 am
piyush mishraIt is Piyush Mishra's birthday today. (Photo: Piyush Mishra/Instagram)

Indian actor, singer, lyricist and music director Piyush Mishra can do all these aforementioned jobs with nuance and skill, making every project his own. However, rarely do we get to see Mishra open up about his own thoughts and feelings, his personal beliefs and battles. But during a two-part interview with Neelesh Misra in 2019, Mishra let the audience meet the man, and not just his work. Here are four such revealing anecdotes that Piyush Mishra shared during the one-and-a-half-hour long chat.

Alcoholism ​

Speaking about the time he was addicted to alcohol and how it affected him and his near and dear ones, Piyush Mishra said, “I gave a world of trouble to my wife, but she was very dedicated to me. I had alcohol-related issues, and there were other things too. Basically, she endured a lot. My wife Priya supported me a lot during those bad phases. But that ‘alcohol phase’ destroyed everything, I wonder how I came out of that alive.”

Stating that he feared for his life, but was racked by the feelings of helplessness and guilt, Piyush said, “I remember drinking beer in the 80s the first time…this is called alcoholism, this condition, this disease’s medical name is A303. It was very bad. I never used to drink during the day, but the nights were all about that. It’s a social disease, you bring misery not only upon yourself, but on everyone who is around you, including your wife and kids. I used to feel so guilty, but I couldn’t seem to stop myself. I went to the doctors who said there is no cure for this, but then in 2005, some people asked me to be a part of this organisation where you were supposed to follow these steps to gradually let go of this addiction. And if I had not sought help at that point, I would have been dead by 2009-10.”


Admittedly at one point a thorough Leftist, Piyush said that even though he no longer identifies himself as such, that period of his life where he did call himself a communist taught him some valuable lessons.

“Communism was an interesting thing, I really had a blast. I was introduced to it by my friend NK Sharma. This happened a long time ago, in 1989. I remember when Punjab was burning in 92, we went there and on the road, some of us would sing songs of protests. That was the first time I saw an AK-47 in real life. I was with Ashish Vidyarthi, Shoojit Sircar, Manoj Bajpayee, Imtiaz Ali. I did everything during those days what a Leftist was supposed to do. Being a Leftist taught me a lot of things — the value of work, discipline, being on time,” Mishra shared.

Brain stroke and miraculous recovery

Piyush Mishra suffered a brain stroke some time after the release of Gulaal. Doctors had said he would never be able to resume life as he had previously known, but thanks to director Vishal Bhardwaj’s intervention, Mishra is currently enjoying a new lease of life. “Some time after Gulaal released, I had planned to visit my wife and our relatives in America. We were supposed to go together, but since I had some work, I told Priya, I would join her in the US later. However, at airport, my hand started shaking badly, I was unable to get a word out properly. I was unable to fill my immigration form correctly. Somehow, I managed to reach America, and upon reaching there, the condition worsened, and then it was said that I had a brain stroke. Doctors told me I could never talk, walk or run again. However, my friend, filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj introduced me to some kind of healing process called Pranic healing, and today, as it so happens, I can do everything on my own,” the actor-writer concluded.

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