He happens to be among those actors who may not be very celebrated off screen, but the moment they are in front of the screen they just light up the screen. I am talking about actor Sanjay Mishra whom you may not recognise by his name immediately, but the moment his name is replaced by his photograph, it gets an instant smile on your face. Known for his roles in ‘All the Best’, ‘Golmaal’ and ‘Phas Gaye Re Obama’ and, classic shows like Office Office, he is remembered more for the characters he played than he himself. To which he says, he hates being stereotyped and being slotted as a character actor, but loves the way his audience loves his characters.
The 51-year-old actor who has had a long affair with acting, unlike other actors, prefers movies over theatre as he feels movies have a wider reach than cinema. And he fascinates you because he loves to be in his skin and lets him be himself. He cooks for his crew when he is shooting (and he cooks really well), and ambles around casually and does whatever he wants to do. This is Mishra Ji’s style- casual, honest and untouched by the makeover of the glamour world. In Delhi for a shoot for an upcoming film under the Baanyan Tree Production Ltd., we engaged him for a candid chat about his role in this upcoming movie, and the offers he’s getting post the release of Ankhon Dekhi in which he has played the central character Bauji.
Excerpts from the interview
Ankhon Dekhi is being considered a milestone movie for you? What sort of offers are you getting now?
While I was shooting for the movie Phas Gaye Re Obama, actor-turned director Rajat Kapoor told me that he would write a movie for me. When he wrote Ankhon Dekhi he approached me for the role of Bauji-the protagonist of the movie who disillusioned with his education, and the monotony of daily life decides to believe only that what he has seen, and not go by hearsay. This role has helped me break the stereotype of being limited to doing comedy roles in the industry, and has offered me the possibility of experimenting my range. Infact, the movie I am doing for Baanyan Tree Production Ltd. has me playing the role a taxi driver who is shrewd, straight forward, and has an emotionally connecting side to him, and i am enjoying essaying this roletoo, as in real life this is how I am, and this how I live my life. For a brilliant film like “Aankhon Dekhi” you have to still call friends and rely on the word of mouth spread, but post its release I’ve got an opportunity to work with Salman Khan in “Kick” and Yash Raj’s “Dum Laga Ke Haisha”, and I believe these big banners will give me more visibility.
Director Sumit Osmand Shaw is debuting with the movie you are playing the role of taxi driver for, how did this happen?
When Sumit narrated the script three years back; he told me he had me in his mind for the role of the taxi driver. As I could connect with the human side of the otherwise shrewd taxi driver, I told him, only I’ll do this role for you. And now when I am executing it in real, I feel this movie has the potential to deliver good cinema.
Are you a director’s man, or do you give inputs while shooting for a scene?
While shooting for a serial called Chanakya, I read the script three times before going for the shoot, but when I came on the sets my understanding about the character was nowhere close to what the director wanted, so after that I never read the script. I ask people to narrate it to me, and then I execute.
What is acting for you? And how do you look at comedy?
Acting is not a profession; it’s a lifestyle for me. As far as comedy is concerned, it works because it connects instantly. It not only entertains, it”s simple to understand and conveys what you want to say without directly pointing at anyone.
You are so you inspite of being a part of this industry, how?
I could never dissociate with my real side, so whatever I am now is because of it. Through acting or otherwise I connect with people in the same way. In reel I entertain, and in real I entertain too.