He is an actor, singer, director, writer and poet. He is widely acclaimed for his talent but that does not stop Piyush Mishra from being the humble person he is.
Even as he gears up for his next release Revolver Rani, starring Kangana Ranaut, we catch up with the multi-talented veteran to chat about his role in the film, his experience on sets and more.
Tell us about your role in Revolver Rani.
The character is a queen-maker, avenger, politician, a womaniser and a doting uncle. It is difficult to put the character of Balli mama in words. It was a very interesting role and I had fun essaying it.
Going by the trailer and your description of the role, isn't this similar to what you did in Gangs of Wasseypur - a king-maker, lech and avenger?
No, this character is a womaniser. And getting prostitutes to your place or drinking alcohol is not a big deal for people in power in the region (where the film is based). Mama does not lech on Kangana, I would't do that kind of a role.
How was it working with Kangana?
She is a very unassuming actor. She is ready to experiment and does not have any hesitations. Working with her, I got the respect I should get as a senior. Also, I gave her the respect she deserves as a star. Of course, she is a bigger star. There were times when she would come up to me with some problem she was facing during a shoot and I would share my suggestions. She is like an empty vessel, the way an actor should be - empty and ready to be filled-in with the character.
The unassuming attitude of both Kangana and Vir Das is very impressive. We (actors from National School of Drama) come with a lot of pseudo-intellectualism. We tend to preach 'gyaan' all the time. I am now unlearning that attitude, working with people like Kangana helps a lot.
How was it working with debut director Sai Kabir?
This is not the first film I have done with him. I have worked with him in a few films that are yet to be released. Also, I know him and his parents from Gwalior. He is a brilliant story writer and a wonderful visualiser. I think India will find a complete filmmaker in Sai Kabir.
Would you like to share any particular challenges you faced while shooting Revolver Rani?
Shooting the movie in Gwalior was in itself a huge challenge. That place is so different. People start firing guns for no reason. There was this man who came to our sets where Kangana was shooting and fired a bullet just so he is known. But the town has changed a lot. I expected a lot more action, but the youth, it seems, have moved to on to meaningful work now. It was almost after 30 years that I spent so much time in Gwalior (Piyush's hometown).
In an interview, Sai Kabir said he wants to revive the times of Guru Dutt and Bimal Roy with his film. Your comments.
Did he name Guru Dutt? I think what he meant was the kind of cinema of their era. This is pulp fiction revisited. The treatment (of Revolver Rani) is new, not the story. That was the turning point for Sholay too. The art lies in portrayal of the story, not just the story.
What is Revolver Rani about?
It is the story of the self-discovery of a woman (Alka Singh). She is a fierce and violent woman who finds love. Women feel a sense of completion with a man. Once she finds her love, the conflicts begin - conflicts around her as well as characters around her. She becomes timid, vulnerable and starts to have all the qualities a woman is associated with. But the story is basically her journey of self-discovery and where it brings her. If the audience does not feel hurt at the ending of the movie, it will be our failure.