In an industry that talks, walks and exudes glitz and glamour, it is hard to find voices that do not identify with the same. This is because either they eventually lose out to the sparkling façade that is Bollywood and enlist themselves in the race for fame, or because they just aren’t strong enough to leave an impression. This being said, if a voice does manage to make its mark, one can imagine the vigor, conviction, and passion it must possess. One such voice is that of Piyush Mishra.
A man of countless talents, the story of his life is nothing short of awe-inspiring. He is a poet, a lyricist, a music director, a screenwriter, an actor and a singer. What really makes him one of a kind is his ability do all of these tasks with such perfection. It is as if he was born to be all of these things.
- A Troubled Childhood And Severe Anger Issues Brought Out The Artist In Him
Interesting as it may sound, this marvel of a man didn’t always have it easy. He was born and brought up in a troubled household. His parents separated and he had to live with his aunt. Her rude behavior towards him gradually turned him into a rebel. As a result of the problems that he underwent in his childhood, anger became an inseparable emotion to him. So much so, that he attributes everything he has today and everything he doesn’t, to his anger and self-destructive habits. His anger and rebellion were channeled into words. He wrote his first poem when he was in class eight.
- An Alcoholic For 20 Years, And In His Own Words, ‘A Morally Corrupt, “Neech” Person’
After he graduated from NSD in 1983, he was asked to play the role of Prem in ‘Maine Pyaar Kiya’. He didn’t respond to Sooraj Barjatiya, and Salman Khan got the part. In fact, he moved to Mumbai in 2003, before which he had spent 20 years of his life as an irresponsible, self-destructive, alcoholic theatre artist. As he confessed in an interview to ‘The Times of India’, he was ‘spiritually weak and morally corrupt’. It was with the help of his wife that he decided to mend his ways and start meditating. A part of the healing process included apologizing to all the people he had hurt. Initially, he went on a guilt trip every time he did that, so much so that he thought it would kill him.
- Took Indian Cinema By Storm With His Powerful Satire
Piyush moved to Mumbai from Delhi in as late as 2003. His first role in a Hindi film was that of a CBI investigator in ‘Dil Se’. After that, he appeared in and delivered several critically acclaimed performances in movies like ‘Maqbool’ and ‘Gulaal’. He even wrote the lyrics for the songs of Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Black Friday’, which included those of Indian Ocean’s biggest hit till date “Arre Ruk Ja Re Bandeh”.
Also, how can one forget the stinging pieces of satire that he wrote for Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Gulaal’! He even turned music director for the film. He’s had no formal training in music and still managed to win an award for ‘Standout performance by a music director’. Several songs from the movie like ‘Ye shaher hamara sota hai’ and the brutally real version of ‘Sarfaroshi ki tamanna’ are improvisations of the songs he performed during his theatre days.
- A Brand Of Talent That Goes Way Beyond Just Theatre And Films
He doesn’t associate himself with just movies. He composed a satire titled ‘Tom Dick and Harry’ in collaboration with rapper Akala in the second season of Star World’s Dewarists. The satire was a humorous remark on a society where the rulers are selfish and have no idea about how to rule the nation. It was almost as if he rekindled the rebel inside him into creating this funny yet insightful poetry. He also composed a heart-warming poem for Coke Studio and Hindi Kavita Sangreh titled ‘Husna’, in which he sang about how India and Pakistan are still the same the nation, despite all their differences. He makes sure to lend his voice to things that he really believes in. He did his own little bit to make a difference and motivate the students protesting at FTII to stand for what they believed in.
- A Jewel In The Crown: His Performance In ‘Gangs Of Wasseypur’
Last but not the least, his most unforgettable performance was as Nasir in the ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ series. The brilliantly recited voice-over was the key feature of the movie, and inarguably, nobody could have done it better than him.
In conclusion, the story of Piyush Mishra’s life is a story of struggle and perseverance. Struggle, not only with the outside world, but against his own demons as well. As someone who was once a victim of his own addiction, he dusted off his weaknesses, rose above them and channeled his energies in the right direction. May his story continue to inspire us all and be better at what we do, always.