Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Kumud Mishra: A good script is eventually the ‘hero’ of the film

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Kumud Mishra makes his presence felt extremely well every time he appears on screen. Well, look back at his filmography, right from playing a character like Khatana in Rockstar, Inzamaan Qalib-E-Haider/Guruji in Raanjhanaa, Sanjeev Kohli in Airlift, Barkat Hussain in Sultan, Deval Sahay in M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, Inspector Suryaveer Singh in Jolly LLB 2, and the most recent Rakesh Prasad in Tiger 3. No surprise, he has maintained his versatility with the projects and characters to play.
An overwhelmed Kumud, who feels grateful to be able to work that you wished for and had come to the city, and the most important thing according to him is that you aren’t a ‘Berozgaar’ (unemployed).
Recently, the adept actor was back with a new play. Purane Chawal, produced by his D for Drama, regaled audiences at the Prithvi Theatre Festival in Mumbai. It is a sparkling Indian adaptation of the Neil Simon comedy, Sunshine Boys. Recalling being at the festival and performing a new play, he shares, “I was really nervous. We couldn’t perform for 2 to 3 years due to the pandemic, and after that, we started producing plays. Last year, D for Drama produced four plays, but in all four of them, there was no role for me, so I couldn’t act. But then, when we got a chance at the Prithvi Theatre Festival, we decided to just go for it. When I started rehearsing, it was then that I realized that it’s been three and a half or four years since I’m going back on stage with a new play, so I was very nervous. It’s an obvious thing that your rhythm gets changed when you don’t do a new play for a long time, so it’s been really amazing to be there.”
If you wondered that the ‘Hero’ is none other than the male lead of the film, our guest has another take on it.
According to him, he says, “The hero of the film that an actor needs is a good script and a good director. It’s an obvious thing that you do need other aspects, like co-actors and all of that. But, according to me, an actor needs a good script. If the script is really great, and even if you get to play a small role, that would really work. However, on the other side, even if you’re playing the main role and the script is not good, you can do nothing about it. And then, of course, after that, the director’s role is there. If the writing is good, then even if you play a small character, even that blossoms.”
With the wide and diverse characters that he has played, there could be different challenges that each of them could bring for the actor. But all, be it the preparations or challenges, depends on the role, script, director, and the team as a whole. “You cannot just not use the same method and carry it everywhere. Every process and character brings a team of its own. Every film has its own process, and it starts with a script, the character, and the director talking about how they are approaching the film.
Then there are also your co-actors, who play the big and major roles; what has been their rhythm, and how are they seeing their work? As an actor, you need to be sensitive towards your co-actor and also give space to your co-actor and the character that you’re playing.
You need to have the capability to see your character from a distance and not get too involved in it. I also believe in  the bird’s-eye vie of seeing my character.”
But many times what happens is, “When you just read the script and imagine your character in just one way, and when you go on set, you get to see that the director has a different vision. And then you’ll have to work according to it. Whatever preps you had done for it, you got to just leave it off and work it according to your director. Because eventually, he will be the boss. He’s someone who has the entire world of the story in his hands. So his vision is important, not my vision. I’m just a part of it. If I think in one way and the director thinks in another, then I’ll have to go with the director’s way. And I always prefer to go with the director,” says the Thappad actor, who feels that there are multiple reasons why an actor could choose a project—the team, money, visibility, script, characters, or adding to the vision of the new director.
During this exclusive tête-à-tête, it was clear that, no matter what, something that he really looks forward to is a good script.
“Sometimes you end up giving a mediocre performance, even when the script is brilliant. Every performance that you do, you invest your 110%. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. The magic of this profession of acting is that even when you give your 100 percent, you might not get the results you expected or imagined. But for me, Charlie, Nazarandaaz, Airlift, the character given by Anubhav Sinha, Thappad, Article 15, and Mulk have been very challenging because he has given me different characters. Nitin Kakkar has given me different characters. I consider Airlift the most challenging character because I believe the character with the least drama is the most challenging one. Then there was Dr. Arora, Rockstar, which was challenging. Then Lust Stories, something I was doing for the first time. All the characters are a challenge in themselves, but it depends on how serious you take it. If you are indifferent to the character, the character will be indifferent to you. Even if you are doing a film for money, you can just not be indifferent to the character, or the audience will get to know that you’re sleepwalking through the path. And I feel that’s most dangerous,” ends the actor on a brighter note, who is doing a web series titled Tatkal, going to begin shooting for an Anand L Rai film, and a lot more happening.

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