While admitting that many senior actors, writers and celebs use power in the wrong way, actor-singer-poet Piyush Mishra, has claimed he has never been adversely affected due to nepotism or any of the Bollywood families (Kapoors or Khans) interfering in his work. Recently seen in the web series JL50, Piyush spoke to Hindustan Times in an exclusive interview where he shared his views on royalty for lyricists, nepotism in the industry and more.
Claiming he is ready to make changes in his poems and songs only if it creatively makes some value addition, Piyush said, “Personally, nepotism never harmed me- I entered the industry after my prime (youth) ended. I did what I wanted to, I did a lot of work. I was never affected by nepotism. No Kapoor or Khan family came in my way. For me, nepotism does not really exist, and even if it does, it has not harmed me yet. But yes, there goondaism in the industry. Dadagiri hai.”
“Huge stars and writers want newcomers to first pay their respect to them and then work. It depends on you – whether you want to pay respects or simply go ahead with your work. I was not ready (for bowing down) so I continued working in my own way. When I found something amiss or not according to my preference, I would just leave,” Piyush said.
Asked if his rebellious poetry ever made him face backlash online, Piyush denied and claimed that his songs are loved by everyone. “All parties have used my poetry – be it the Congress, BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) or CPM (Communist Party of India- Marxist). My poetry has also been used in the (cricket) world cup, military events – almost everywhere. I may not be getting any royalty (from these sources) but it is great that people are liking it. I have never faced any backlash. Arambh Hai Prachand has been used by almost everyone. What do I complain about?”
Piyush also thanked lyricist Javed Akhtar for enabling a royalty programme for lyricists in the India film industry. “Thanks to Javed Akhtar, the organisation Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) now enables writers to get royalty for their songs. If you are registered with them, you will get royalty if the song is played anywhere.” He also added, “I don’t see any point in begging in front of the producers. The more we beg, the more we turn helpless. In the west, lyricists get Oscar automatically if the song is awarded. Unlike here where writers are treated very badly. I think lyricists need to stand their ground firmly.”
Piyush plays a scientist in Shailendra Vyas’ web series JL50. About using his song for credits of one episode, Piyush said, “Much like Anurag (Kashyap) does, Shailendra picked one of my song and said I want this. I happily gave it to him and he has used it perfectly.”
Piyush added, “JL 50 has a unique script. It was not offered to me as a science fiction movie. I was told it is a commercial film and I should just read the script. When we think of sci-fi films, we think of machines. But there is nothing of the sort. This is a straight film and offers the kind of entertainment that Rajkumar Hirani’s films do. If you watch it, it is a human film.Isme dheeme se mythology bhi aat hai, isme dheeme se history bhi aati hai, dheeme se quantum physics bhi aati hai lekin (It has mythology, history and quantum, physics slipping into the narrative) but ultimately it is a human film.”
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Piyush also praised the show’s director. “What a script and what a passionate director. Maine usko phone kar ke bola tere pair chune chahiye (I called him up to say that I want to touch his feet after watching the series). I am reminded of Anurag of earlier days when I see him . Anurag was equally disorganised, faila hua tha aur itna hi ast vuyast tha, itna hi kaam me pagal tha. Mere khayal se industry ko bahut bada filmmaker mil gaya hai aur industry ko iska fayda uthana chahiye (Both Shailendra and Anurag from his initial days, were equally disorganised, spread all over and crazy in his work. I think the industry has found a great filmmaker and industry should make a good use of him),” Piyush signed off.