When you are impatient and disturbed you create a lot. The restiveness brings out the best in you. I am at peace these days, so the work may be less, as I find it tough to create without the bechaini, but I don’t want to change anything, I am happy with life, its beauty and simplicity and don’t want to complicate it,” says actor-poet Piyush Mishra, at Literati, Chandigarh’s Literature Festival. Mishra is at the event to talk about Kuch Ishq Kiya Kuch Kaam Kiya (Rajkamal Prakashan), an anthology of poems written over a period of 20 years.
Love, loss, alcoholism, theatre, and uneasiness, are the themes in these poems that come from his experiences on stage, his complex relationships, childhood, youth, success, and failures. The title of the book is taken from a famous nazm of Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, someone Mishra respects and loves.
Work, says the actor, came in way of love and sometimes love came in the path of work, so he left both half-way. “Woh ishq kya ishq hua jo aasani se ho jaye. It was a time of struggle, in theatre and with the dreaded disease of alcoholism. Many of the poems reflect that phase of my life, as I wrote about whatever I saw and felt, factory workers, bombings, failures, childhood, youth, and old age. All my poetry and songs are a result of me being an actor, as I visualise everything I write and so you can feel the words,’’ says Mishra, who has written compositions for Gangs of Wasseypur, Black Friday, and Gulal, apart from songs for theatre.
One piece of work that remains close to Mishra’s heart is Gagan Damama Bajyo, a play on the life and times of Bhagat Singh, one that raises the question if the India of today was what Bhagat Singh dreamt of. “In world history, there is no krantikaar like him. He learnt English so he could debate with the Britishers, he chose when to die, at 23 he did what most of us can never even fathom to.”
As of now, Mishra is reconnecting with people and family and living every moment. “I was arrogant in my youth, but now I want to be with everyone, I don’t want to be politically correct and want to be who I am and be accepted everywhere. Life is simple; why complicate it and what I have learnt is that you cannot change society, but only yourself.”