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Becoming The Character

For gifted actor Piyush Mishra, working on Tamasha was all the more challenging as he has never played a 90-year-old previously and Imtiaz Ali’s insistence on living a character much before the shoot begins only made things more demanding

On The Brief

Imtiaz Ali is a dear friend and, one fine day, he said he had a story and that I was the only actor who suited the character. He had spoken to other actors but didn’t see the character in them. He narrated me the story and I loved it.

On His Role

I might not have a lot of screen time but I am present throughout the film and I play a very important character. It is my way of storytelling that leaves a strong impact on Ranbir’s character. I have two key parts, one where I play a 70-year-old and the other where I play a 90-year-old man. My character itself is like a story.

On Challenge

I have never played a 90-year-old guy in my entire career. It was a challenge because I had to do justice to the film. The make-up artist used to work on my face for two and a half hours, so I had to do justice to his hard work. After my make-up was done, Imtiaz used to brief me, so I had to do justice to my director. And Ranbir had to react to my character. So I had to do justice to the film. Since a 90-year-old man doesn’t behave like a regular old man, I did my own research before I played the part.

On Imtiaz Ali

Imtiaz Ali is a magician. He tortures his actors although they don’t realise it because he is very subtle. He makes you get into the skin of the character and live that character before you start shooting. By the time you start shooting, you are already thinking like your character. Also, the characters in all his films are very different from each other. My character in Rockstar was totally different from my character in Tamasha.

On Ranbir Kapoor

In the last scene, where Ranbir returns to meet me to know what happens to his story, you will see only him in the frame. But my reaction is mirrored in his expression as he is reacting to what I am saying. Had it been any other actor, I wouldn’t have agreed to do this scene in this manner but Ranbir Kapoor is a fabulous actor and you get to do that much more when you work with him. The scene where he tells everyone a story near a tea shop… We rehearsed that scene at his house because it was a tough scene. He has become a story teller.

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