Piyush Mishra: No matter how much you try, you can’t be apolitical in a society – Times of India

Be it in his lyrics or interactions, Piyush Mishra is nonchalant, often political and isn’t afraid to speak his mind. The actor-writer-lyricist was part of a session at a literature fest Pune recently. Before going on stage, we caught up with Mishra for a quick chat. From his Pune connection, to memes and mimicry, and why he claims to be apolitical but isn’t, here’s how the chat progressed. Excerpts:

‘It’s important to take a stand’

Back in February 2019 while performing with his band Ballimaaraan in Pune, Mishra had taken a stand that he won’t be performing his popular song Husna (which is a letter of love from an Indian man to a Pakistani woman) until Pakistan takes moral responsibility of the Pulwama attack that happened in the same month. He maintains that taking a stand where it’s required is necessary. “In any society, no matter how much you try, you can’t be apolitical. I call myself apolitical but
mujhe ye bhi pata hai ke jahan zaroori hai, waha mujhe stand
lena hi padega. I call a spade, a spade,” he says.

At a time when public figures are extremely cautious about making statements related to current issues or the system in general, Mishra is unabashedly politically incorrect. “I don’t know if being politically incorrect is right or wrong. I say things that I feel. The intent is not to hurt anyone,” says Mishra. But it comes at a cost. “
Mera kehna hai ki jo hai wo hai. If I like a few things about a person or a party, I’ll say it. If I like something about their rivals, I’ll say that too. But
isme panga ye hai ki one or the other side gets offended. I think these are things that aren’t in my control. But that’s fine.
Waise bhi aur 20
saal ki zindagi hai, usme ky bolein aur kya na bolein iske baare mein itna kya sochna,” he opines.

‘I ruined my family’s life with my passion for theatre’

Most actors are of the opinion that the passion for theatre should always be alive in an artiste. Mishra agrees, but he advices youngsters to not make theatre their life. He says, “I love theatre, but I don’t think it’s a feasible work option to keep your house running and to take care of a family. And this is coming from a person who dedicated 20 years of his life to theatre. I ruined my life, and that of my family with this crazy passion for theatre. I had fun doing it and my work was appreciated, but I hardly earned from it. Just for my fun or selfishness, I couldn’t continue to ruin my family’s life. You need to take responsibility and earn. Yes, my work in theatre made it easy for me to get work in Mumbai because I had either worked with a lot of people from the industry or people had seen me perform on stage. So today, I do films to earn money and keep my family afloat. That’s that.”

‘Mujhe mimicry aur memes bohot pasand aate hai’

Besides mesmerising a generation of film lovers with his writing and lyrics in songs like
Aarambh and
O Ri Duniya, Mishra’s writing and acting has also inspired hundreds of memes. “
Mujhe to bohot pasand aata hai. It takes a lot of effort to do this. Memes, mimicry… I recently met an artiste named Jayvijay Sachan
jo meri mimicry
karta hai. I loved it. It’s an art in itself and I welcome all this with open arms,” says the actor-writer who is set to release an autobiographical novel named
Tumhari Aukaat Kya Hai Piyush Mishra, soon. “It took me 6 years to write this. The story is based in Gwalior, Delhi and Mumbai. I started writing in 2015, then lost the first draft of the Gwalior part, probably gave it to the
kabadiwala. So, I rewrote that and finished the entire book in the two years during the pandemic,” he says. About his upcoming projects, Mishra says that he plans to do a national tour with his band early next year and has a few other projects lined up, for income of course. “And I will also have to deal with the people who may get offended after my book comes out.
Toh dekhte hai. Cheezein jaisi aati rahegi, hum unko waise lete jayenge,” he concludes.

No matter how much you try, you can’t be apolitical in a society: Piyush Mishra



‘Anurag Kashyap is among the few people who make films passionately’

Speaking during the fest, Mishra touched upon how filmmaking is ultimately a business. “People in the industry say they are passionate about work.
Jhoot hai. Ultimately, when you attach economics to anything, you are working for money, and there’s no problem in that. I think there’s only one person that I’ve seen in the industry who doesn’t give a damn about his movies’ performance at the box office – Anurag Kashyap.
Wo banda apni vision
ke saath true
hai and he makes films that he believes in. I love that about him,” says Mishra, who has collaborated with Kashyap in films like
Gangs of Wasseypur and
Gulaal.

No matter how much you try, you can’t be apolitical in a society: Piyush Mishra

‘Pune bohot haseen sheher hain’

Mishra doesn’t come here very often, but he says he loves Pune. “I have come here a few times, not often. I have taught students at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), have interacted with some young theatre groups in the city and I come to visit my relatives here sometimes. Pune
bohot haseen sheher hain and I hope I get to perform live in the city again soon,” he says.

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