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"This is my first interview," Piyush Mishra grins. "Badhiya sawaal poochna [Ask great questions]!"

The actor recently made waves in Vishal Bharadwaj's Maqbool, where he played Abbaji's loyal henchman, Kaka. Maqbool, starring Tabu, Irrfan, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri and Pankaj Kapoor, was critically acclaimed for its direction and performances.

Interestingly, Mishra was not the first choice for the role of Kaka. The versatile Paresh Rawal was. "If Pareshji had been roped in, the six major characters in the film would have gone to six stars," Mishra says.

A graduate of the National School of Drama, New Delhi, Mishra knew Vishal and most of the cast. "I have never approached anyone for roles. But for the first time, I had approached Vishal, an old friend, for Kaka's role. I did not want him to cast me because of our friendship. I insisted on auditioning for it. And I was selected," he says.

He adds that Kaka's character is the most colourful one in the film. "He's the only emotional person in the film. He displays a variety of emotions. But I was extremely nervous when I got the role because I would be acting with such stalwarts."

Mishra has certainly 'arrived'. Not only has he bagged films like Aparna Sen's Gulel and Anurag Kashyap's Black Friday, but when he walks the streets, he hears a regular murmur, "Maqbool."


Text: Ronjita Kulkarni
Design: Rahil Shaikh

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