“Zinda ho haan tum koi shak nahin, saans lete hue dekha maine bhi hain
Haath aur pairon aur jism ko harqatey khoob dete huey dekha maine bhi hain
Ab bhale hi yeh kartey huey honth tum dard sehtey huey sakht see lete ho
Ab hain bhi kya kum tumhaarey liye, khoob apni samajh mein toh jee lete ho”
Sharp, witty and honesty that’s spot-on lethal. There’s something about the vices of Piyush Mishra, just like his poetry, that draws us to his work and his being. Today, he has turned 58. Each time he speaks, his eyes seer into the distance, perhaps somewhere seeking solace, invoking both discomfort and calm. Let’s get to know this genius:
1. Piyush Mishra was born in Gwalior to Pratap Kumar Sharma and was adopted by his father’s eldest sister Taradevi Mishra, who had no children.
2. His name was Priyakansha Sharma, which he changed to Piyush Mishra while he was in class 10th.
3. Before getting into theatrics and acting, Piyush Mishra had also tried his hand at sitar, an activity very well synchronised with his ingenious talent for music.
4. After an attempt at sitar, he had moved on to Sculpting, from the Gwalior College of Sculpture.
5. He graduated from NSD (National School of Drama) in 1986. With NSD being his happy place, in his third year, he was directed as the title role in Hamlet, by the German director, Fritz Bennewitz.
6. Coming from a tortured childhood, Mishra despised his father, who saw nothing but failure in his son. After the opening of Hamlet, and a picture in all the newspapers, he understood his son’s potential.
7. Piyush Mishra’s first significant role in theatre was in a Kala Mandir production, Dilli Teri Baat Nirali. The play reflected the revolts in 1857 after being cast in a Sanskrit play, Bhagavadajjukam.
8. 1996 saw the launch of Piyush Mishra’s solo shows, An Evening with Piyush Mishra. We all remember- “Woh ishq bhala kya ishq hua, jo asaani se ho jaye”
9. Mani Ratan’s Dil Se, in 1998 is Piyush Mishra’s debut film. He played the role of a C.B.I investigating Officer.
10. His problem with alcoholism started when he had joined the theatre group ‘Act One’ in 1990.
11. Claimed to have killed his morale during that phase of his life. He attended a course of Vipassana in Igatpuri
in 2010. He came out, stronger, wiser, a peaceful man.
12. It took him only seven days to compose and write the music for the movie Gulaal. Most of them were pieces he had composed for the theatre.
13. In his 3rd year at NSD he was considered to play the lead role in the famous blockbuster “Maine Pyar Kiya”. It still remains a mystery as to why he refused Suraj Barjatya’s directorial debut. In an interview, he said, “I presume it was for Salman Khan’s role. No regrets since that was the beginning of my grand obsession with theatre.”