Piyush Mishra recently managed to leave a mark in the web space with his performance in SonyLIV series JL50. The 57-year-old actor looks at the character of Professor Mitra as not a negative role. Rather, “he is an achiever who just wishes to surprise the world. For that, he opts for an evil path.”
Here are excerpts from an interaction with indianexpress.com:
Q. How did you approach your role of Professor Mitra?
I researched about it and read books on physics. I approach all my characters humanly. I don’t play any extraordinary characters because those are not real. I make sure to present myself as an ordinary man whom people can relate to. Coming to Professor Mitra, yes, it’s true that this is a different character in a very different web series. I haven’t come across such a script until now. It has time travel and is full of drama. Despite being science-fiction, it has human elements as well. It is this script that makes the character different. If it would have been a film, you would have looked at Professor Mitra as a negative role, but here it is a character with various shades. He is an achiever and wants to surprise the world. For that, he chooses an evil path.
Q. What were your first thoughts when you read the script? Weren’t you apprehensive of presenting something different to the audience?
When I watched it, I was stunned to see how well it came across. I haven’t seen such a series being made in India. After reading the script, I didn’t feel for once that it lacks the populist elements at all. It is commercially viable content which would have worked had it had a theatrical release. I was sure the audience would accept it with open arms.
Q. Producer Ritika Anand and Abhay Deol told us that the shooting for JL50 was done in 2018. But it could be released only now. How did you cope with the long wait?
I don’t stick to my projects after completing them. No matter how amazing your work is, it is important to forget it and move ahead. You should not hold onto your projects. I did a lot of work last year after finishing JL50. I was busy with my musical play Bhagat Singh, then I worked on Illegal (Voot Select web series) and a web series called South City. I love to work a lot, and I get bored if I stick to a single project for very long.
Q. Also, Abhay Deol said he enjoys working with you. What kind of equation do you share with him?
I like two boys of this young generation, one is Abhay Deol and the other is Ranbir Kapoor. I have a comfort level with Abhay. He is such an economical actor who knows how much of himself he has to give to a character. By doing this, he manages to be graceful.
Q. In the first three episodes, JL50 doesn’t go the cliched way of how mystery thrillers are treated, but its ending is quite Bollywood-ish with all those gunshots and chase sequences. What do you think?
I think it was necessary for the plot and the climax. Technically, it has been edited so well. It is not like there are gunshots and the hero is just running blindly. Everything in that scene happens logically. There is no acrobatics, no man is jumping off from anywhere and everywhere. It has been shot very realistically.
Q. Your views on the ongoing insider-outsider debate.
More than nepotism, there is ‘dadagiri’ (bullying) by certain families and production houses in this industry. If there would have been nepotism, then I, who entered Mumbai at the age of 40, would not have gotten any work. Be it Kay Kay Menon, Manoj Bajpayee, Irrfan Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Deepak Dobriyal, Pankaj Tripathi, we all are from non-filmy backgrounds, yet we got work and made a mark in the industry. But there are certain people whose approval is necessary for you to survive here. If you do not seek their approval, you will be bullied.
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