Veteran stage and film actor Piyush Mishra is making his digital debut with Voot series Illegal. He first started with the stage before moving to Mumbai with Mani Ratnam’s Dil Se, later seen in Maqbool and Gulaal, among others, and since then has not looked back.
IWMBuzz caught up with him for a chat on the show and how the industry has evolved over the past two decades:
What do you feel about the web medium?
It is Godsend for writers. Web allows us the liberty to extend our two-hour-long cine characters into 8 -10 episode seasons. Also, we shoot with much easy and leisure, allowing time to work on our character graphs.
Can you dwell on your character in Illegal?
He is a powerful character, why don’t you watch and find it for yourself.
Since the story revolves around topnotch lawyers, would you want to comment on the contemporary legal scene?
Not that might lead to controversies. Our series is more than enough answer to your question.
Does your show have any bold content?
I have not shot any such stuff, and have no clue if there are such scenes involving other actors. However, I don’t think our content-driven story requires these devices. Both the directors impressed me with their mature thinking.
How would you evaluate your long distinguished career?
So far, so good. I was lucky to have come to Mumbai at the time of Satya content renaissance ( 1998). Bollywood had nosed dived between late seventies to late nineties. Producers would sign up Mr. Amitabh Bachchan with no script, and the film would end when he so wished. Nobody cared about story or character. Other heroes like Mithun Chakraborty, Shashi Kapoor and Vinod Khanna were busy doing three shifts. Although my debut film Dil Se tanked, it had a good story I first smelt commercial success with Maqbool. My recent hits have included Pink and Sanju. Even today you have non-sensical films like Houseful franchise ruling the roost. But biggies like Akshay Kumar also do lots of meaningful cinema. By and far content is king, thereby allowing all types of talented actors to make a decent living.
Have you got your due?
I would have been summarily rejected in late seventies and eighties due to my appearance. Rather than asking what I can offer, they were more interested in my height. Still my journey has not been a walk in the park either, having to endure years of struggle. I might have better enjoyed the fruits of success, had they come earlier.
What separates you from the rest of the crowd?
Dedication. I always call for scripts two or three months in advance for homework, which in turn translates into a breezy shoot.
What will be the impact of COVID- 19 on the industry?
This pandemic seems to be a warning from Mother Nature for stooping too low. Now there is nowhere to go. It will take at least six months post lockdown for full-fledged shoots to resume. All this is dependent on the virus abating if not, God save us. There will be a lot of changes, including budget cuts. I don’t know what will be the final outcome.