Sanjay Mishra is an actor who never fails to surprise. His gallery of performances ranges from buffoonery (Golmaal) to sheer brilliance(Ankhen Dekhi) . There is nothing this maverick performer can’t do.Sanjay talks to Subhash K Jha
In your new film Kaamyaab you play a ‘character actor’ of Hindi cinema on a very strange mission?
My character Sudheer is a character actor like Kader Khan, Shakti Kapoor or Lalita Pawar, so brilliant that anyone can take him for granted as and how they like. Aap aise charitra abhinetaon se bahot miley honge. Woh set par ek kone mein baithe rehte hain chup-chap,shot ke liye. Sara crew hero ke peech laga rahta hai.
I know I felt I had met your character on many sets of Hindi films?
Jee hain. Main wohi hoon jo dikhte toh hain lekin log unhe dekhte nahin .Sudheer has already done 499 films in his career. He is retired and aimless when suddenly something happens, and he wants to do that one last film which would round off his career. He wants to be remembered as the only actor who has done 500 films.
How did you get into Kaamyaab?
I jumped out of my seat when the director Hardik Mehta narrated the script to me.It was the same feeling I got when I heard the script of Ankhon Dekhi, Masaan , Kadvi Hawa, Anarkali Of Arrah and Dum Lagake Haisha.Something just happens, and you know this is going to take you to places where you haven’t been before.
Is it important for you to keep doing different characters?
I can’t do the same thing again. Even in the Golmaal series I’m trying to bring a newness each time. I can’t be stagnant. It will kill me.I’ve waited for almost 20 years for good things to happen in my career. Ek waqt ttha jab main koi bhi role le leta ttha. Survival ki baat tthi. Kaamyaab mein mera character apne-aap ko aloo kehta hai.Meri haalat uss-se bhi battar tthi. Ab jab manpasand roles mil rahe hain toh mein wohi kaam karunga jo mera dil chahta hai.
So is Kaamyaab your best film to date?
That I will leave to the audience to decide. When Aankhon Dekhi came out everybody said I couldn’t better than. Then when Kadvi Hawa released people said the same. I’d like to think after Kamyaab they’ll say the same.After that there is the film Gwalior with Neena Gupta and a film called Death On A Sunday In Patna City directed by Sanjay Sonu which has been shot entirely in Patna which I’m excited about.
Shah Rukh has taken over Kaamyaab as producer?
Shah Rukh Khan taking interest in a project like Kaamyaab shows how far our cinema has come. There was a time when directors like Shyam Benegal, Basu Bhattacharya and Basu Chatterjee were considered parallel filmmakers. Now films like Masaan,Aankhon Dekhi and Kaamyaab are no longer considered marginal, In fact they are the new mainstream cinema.And the small towns of India are the new Switzerlands of shooting locations.