Actor-writer Piyush Mishra says for him theatre is a selfless romance, while cinema is a money-driven business.
Mishra, who has spent 20 years of his life in Delhi as a theatre artiste, believes the medium lets him push boundaries as a performer.
“You do theatre for the love of theatre and not to get any benefit from it. Theatre is a live art, you get to play and perform challenging roles with depth and feel.
“I believe pure acting is there only in theatre. You get nothing in return from theatre except love and applause. Cinema is a trade. If you invest money in making a film, you expect a return,” the actor told PTI in an interview.
A National School of Drama (NSD) graduate, Mishra said he continued doing theatre primarily for his love for acting but one is paid better in films.
Some of his memorable performances are in films Maqbool, Gulaal, Rockstar and Gangs of Wasseypur.
The 57-year-old actor said there is a dearth of well-written parts for a performer like him in movies.
Citing the example of the 2019’s Joker, featuring Joaquin Phoenix as the DC supervillain, Mishra said apart from intelligent writer and director, a film also needs a producer who understands the medium.
“It is essential to have an intelligent producer, who understands cinema and not just the director and scriptwriter who are expected to be intelligent. We don’t see those many good films being made (here).”
The poet-lyricist said he has enjoyed being a part of literary adaptations like Vishal Bhardwaj’s Maqbool.
“I felt we were doing a piece of literature. There are very few films which are based on literature like Haider and Omkara. We don’t seek inspiration from there (literature).”
Mishra didn’t do any films last year as his focus was to travel across the country with his 25-year-old musical play on the life and times of Bhagat Singh. He had many shows lined-up this year too, but the performances were called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mishra currently features in JL 50, a science-fiction web-series.
Written and directed by Shailender Vyas, JL 50 is about the investigation of a plane crash by a CBI officer (Abhay Deol). The plot takes a turn when he finds out that the flight took off 35 years ago from Kolkata.
“There is an element of mythology, science-fiction and it has interesting characters, but it is not a whodunnit,” he said.
The actor plays the role of a survivor, a science professor.
Mishra said he had to brush up his knowledge of elementary physics to understand the world better.
“I had not seen this kind of mad scientist so I had to imagine this part. For this role of a mad scientist, who is whimsical and is into himself, I created a background for my own understanding. I did a bit research and read a lot of rules and books on physics.”
Mishra said as an artiste, he likes to do to his homework before playing a part as he doesn’t want to trouble anyone on the sets because of his lack of preparation.
“I always do a lot of homework before going on set. I make sure the director or my co-actor or any technician do not face any trouble because of me. I prepare a lot for my role, so I add my bit and follow what the director is also saying and this always works for me.”
“Besides, I believe an actor’s imagination is important. The broader it is, the better it is for your performance. That’s how a rich actor is born,” he added.
The web-series JL 50, currently streaming on SonyLIV, also features Pankaj Kapur, Rajesh Sharma and Ritika Anand.
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