Actor-director Piyush Mishra, in Chandigarh for the staging of his play Gagan Damama Bajyo, says the directors and actors who have performed it have never disappointed him : The Tribune India

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Actor-director Piyush Mishra, in Chandigarh for the staging of his play Gagan Damama Bajyo, says the directors and actors who have performed it have never disappointed him

Actor-director Piyush Mishra, in Chandigarh for the staging of his play Gagan Damama Bajyo, says the directors and actors who have performed it have never disappointed him

PHOTO: RAVI KUMAR



Sheetal

We have heard of all-rounders in sports, but there are very few in the film industry. Piyush Mishra is one such name, hailed by readers, film buffs, playwrights and music lovers alike. Invited as a chief guest at the Tagore Theatre for the staging of Mishra’s own play, Gagan Damama Bajyo, which he wrote three decades ago, one witnesses a different side of him.

Organised by Shoolini Creative Studio, the drama club of Shoolini University, it was their annual production, directed by Ankur Bashar Assistant Professor of Performing Arts at the varsity. Mishra recalls how he had written the play in 1994 when his director, NK Sharma, felt that a play on freedom fighter Bhagat Singh would re-ignite the patriotism and dialogue on how he had imagined free India.

Understanding history

As he took to the stage for a conversation with the audience as well as the performers, Mishra wonders why Bhagat Singh’s life’s story was reduced to one or two pages in NCERT books. He elaborates, “While we only see one or two page information on Bhagat Singh, there are a series of books available on Mahatma Gandhi, Subhas Chandra Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru. There is the same discourse on Bhagat Singh revolving for decades — that he killed John Saunders, a British police officer and also bombed the Central Legislative Assembly. But how many know that he regretted the killing and from a romantic revolutionary turned into a realist during his time in jail. Did you know they threw bombs on vacant seats in the assembly with an intention to warn British authorities and spread their message? ‘Bombs and pistols do not make revolution. That is not our understanding’… he said it. We need more understanding on history.”

Play on

Ask him what made them (director NK Sharma and writer Mishra) write this play and he quips, “NK was a communist and still is. He wanted to make a play on Bhagat Singh and told me to write it. I was clear that I was not writing an essay or making a documentary, so it had to be interesting. Thus we introduced a few songs in it and made into a musical play. It took me three months to write the play and compose the songs around it. It was first performed at Shri Ram Center for Performing Arts, Mandi House, New Delhi and was very well received by the masses. From there on, we had given directors the freedom to edit and shorten it according to their liking.”

What if a director doesn’t like the ending or revamps an entire scene? “It’s impolite to take someone’s creation and make it your own. Having said that, I have witnessed many directors and actors perform this play, and they have never disappointed me in any way. I always say whatever work I have done, be it songs, books or screenwriting, once it’s with the masses, they have more right on it,” he explains.

When we last talked to Mishra ahead of his concert Ballimaaraan —The Piyush Mishra’s Musical Project, which he began from Chandigarh in January last year, to now that it has travelled to many cities in India and even abroad, he feels ready to include some fresh songs in his two hour-long performance. “It’s election season and also IPL is on. So will wait till monsoon to add a few new melodies and, hopefully, will also start recording for them.”

Taking it easy

Mishra recently released his autobiography, Tumhari Auqat Kya Hai, and would also be seen as an actor in the film JNU: Jahangir National University, which was supposed to release on April 5, but got postponed. At 61, Mishra doesn’t wish to talk about his upcoming projects and rather wants to take out time to spend with family and friends. “I think I have done enough work, in fact, sometimes I feel I have done enough for one or two lifetimes. For the time being, I am working at my leisure. Abhi chota mota kaam ho raha hai, bada kaam karne ki icha bhi nahi hai.” After all, for Mishra, the musician, lyricist, screenwriter, author, actor, playwright and musician, what’s left to do?


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