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Zeishan Quadri: Making the Write Choices

Zeishan Quadri is all set with the release of Gangs of Wasseypur's sequel

By Shillpi A Singh
Wasseypur, the nondescript Muslim locality in the heart of Jharkhand’s coal capital Dhanbad, is all set to scorch the silver screen again. For the uninitiated, the small town is famous for the Indian School of Mines, coal mines, and mafia, perhaps not in the same order. The sleepy township in Dhanbad catapulted its way into the limelight with Anurag Kashyap’s two-part epic gangster flick Gangs of Wasseypur released in 2012. Set against the backdrop of gangland killings in the town, the film gave all those naysayers, who believed that only Mumbai could serve as the setting of gang wars, a run for their money. The man who scripted this crime thriller is a son of the soil, Zeishan Quadri.
Image source: wikimedia commons
Image source: wikimedia commons
Quadri, 33, was born and brought up in Wasseypur, which explains the passion with which he could narrate the tale of revenge between two rival families —Khans and Singhs — in the locality. The film, which was the toast of international festival circuits, won accolades for its gritty presentation of rivalries, revenge, and retributions in Wasseypur, through gripping story-telling, crazy characters, cutting-edge editing, and hundreds of actors, all of which have turned it into a cult classic.
Quadri, who had scripted the first two parts, is now busy giving final touches to the third one, which he says will be titled Gangs of Wasseypur 1.5. And mind you, he is all set to direct it as well. So get ready to watch another intense tale of vengeance, greed and ambition of the long-running feud between two families of the coal capital. But unlike the first two parts of the series that spanned over a period of 70 years, the third installment will cover 15 years at the most; it would be the period in between when the story began (1948) and ended (2009). “The other elements and setting of the film will remain the same though new characters will be introduced to add spice to the crime saga,” he said.
The Wordsmith
A writer by choice and actor by default is what describes Quadri in a nutshell. The man who can weave magic with his pen has won a plethora of awards for his debut film Gangs of Wasseypur 1 and 2 as a writer. “I love to write. Believe it or not, till date I have written three versions of Gangs of Wasseypur’s third part,” he said. So much and so, the other films that he has penned include his directorial venture Meeruthiya Gangsters, Anu Menon’s Oh Womaniya and Firauti for Fardeen Khan Productions.
Act Another Day
Zeishan as Definite in GoW-2
Zeishan as Definite in GoW-2
Definite, the character that Quadri essayed in his debut film, Gangs of Wasseypur 2, kick-started his acting career. He had tasted blood by playing an awe-inspiring character in the crime thriller, who mouthed witty one-liners like “ek ladka aur ladki kabhi dost nahin ho sakte”, and went on a killing spree to be the gangster that he always wanted to be. This dalliance hooked him to explore options as an actor and Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Revolver Rani starring Kangana Ranuat-Vir Das followed next where he essayed the role of Pilot. “Over the years, I have realised that acting is my passion but not my cup of tea. I would be happy to be behind the scene. I am keen to spend my creative energy on writing scripts. That’s my real calling.” But don’t write him off as an actor. As they say, picture abhi baaki hai dost, Quadri will soon be seen in upcoming film Akki, Vikki Te Nikki, and Banana. He quoted an anecdote from his Cannes visit when an impressed American actor told him that he will be a star after Gangs of Wasseypur 2 releases in India. “I quickly corrected him that I may at the best be an actor but never a star to which he retorted that in the US all good actors worth their salts are stars,” Quadri said, adding, “Unfortunately, that is not the case in India.”
Director’s Cut
Meeruthiya Gangsters
Meeruthiya Gangsters
 Quadri’s directorial venture Meeruthiya Gangsters was a story of six aimless young criminals from the badlands of Meerut, a small town in Uttar Pradesh, who take up to crime to make a quick buck. Though the film didn’t fare well at the box-office, it certainly left an indelible mark as a delightful comedy that kept the audience engaged and entertained throughout with its pace, witty dialogues, and excellent characterization, and most of all its setting in Meerut. “Though it is not the first film to be based on Meerut, it was the first film ever to be shot in Meerut,” he said. And why Meerut if you ask? No points for guessing. Quadri spent his undergrad years in this town and taking a slice out of his life and spice it with real-turned-reel characters seems the most obvious choice for this writer-director-producer-actor.
Mentor Matters
If Meerut’s scissors are known for their sharpness, Meeruthiya Gangsters set in the small town will be remembered for its crisp editing by none other than filmmaker Anurag Kashyap. “Anurag Sir had not seen the film, but he got to know about it from a common friend Vasan Bala. He asked me to show the film. He loved the idea of a gang of young men who set out to make money in the most unusual way. The humour and banter of the six protagonists in local dialect added to film’s flavour. But he found the editing a little sloppy which made him take charge of the job at the eleventh hour. I am glad that this venture of mine had the director’s cut,” said a proud protégé of the filmmaker. Impressed with his brilliant command over the subject and razor-sharp treatment of characters, Kashyap decided to hand over the reins of the Gangs of Wasseypur’s sequel to him. “It is a great honour for a newbie like me,” said an ecstatic Quadri. About his equation with the maverick filmmaker, he said, “I share a special bond with Anurag Sir. He is the best film school around. I am happy to be a student of his kind of cinema. We have a lot of similarities, even in our differences. The best thing about him is that he is passionate about the craft and open and forthcoming, which makes learning the nuances of film-making fun.”
Anurag Kashyap with Zeishan Quadri
Anurag Kashyap with Zeishan Quadri
Passionate About Production
“I am a creative businessman,” he quipped when prodded over his production house and its cinematic pursuits. Quadri forayed into production with Prague for his friend. But he continued to serenade the box-office beauty with his Friday to Friday Entertainers that has produced his directorial venture Meeruthiya Gangsters and is also co-producing Sarabjit, a biopic on late Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit. “Writer Rajesh Beri and former COO of Mukta Arts Rajesh Nair, who are now part of my team, were involved in this project right from the beginning. The story was languishing with Mukta Arts for almost four years. The story of Sarabjit Singh’s death stirred nation’s emotions and his sister’s Dalbir’s struggle to free him is a heart-wrenching. So I bought the rights to the story from Subhash Ghai last year. Soon others joined me and the rest is history.”
The film which will hit the screens on May 20, 2016, will be directed by Omung Kumar of Mary Kom fame, and it boasts an enviable star cast. While Randeep Hooda will be seen as Sarabjit, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan will essay the role of his sister Dalbir, and Richa Chaddha will play Sarabjit’s wife. The trailer and its song Salamat have already caught the nation’s imagination and as Quadri said, “Hopefully the poignant story of  a sister’s struggle strikes a chord with the classes, masses, and critics alike.”
If it does, then the film will set the cash registers ringing and leave Quadri smiling his way to the banks. For a small town boy, who has traversed a long cinematic journey in just a couple of years, the feeling of making it big in Mumbai hasn’t sunk in yet. That’s modesty personified. But his hometown thinks he hung the moon and the stars! And rightfully so.
The author can be contacted at shilpi.devsingh@gmail.com 
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Copyright 2016 NewsGram

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Piyush Mishra: The Man Who Is Also Known As India’s, Bob Dylan

Piyush Mishra is undoubtedly the kind of talent which only comes along once in a while

Piyush Mishra is an Indian film and theatre actor, music director, lyricist, singer, scriptwriter. Wikimedia Commons
Piyush Mishra is an Indian film and theatre actor, music director, lyricist, singer, scriptwriter. Wikimedia Commons
  • Piyush Mishra is a born star and his achievements are incalculable
  • Piyush Mishra shifted to Mumbai in 2002
  • Self-destructive in nature, Piyush Mishra admits that his anger drives his creativity

The Bollywood industry has plentiful stars but not like Piyush Mishra. He was born 13 January 1963 and is an Indian film and theatre actor, music director, lyricist, singer, scriptwriter. Piyush Mishra is a born star and his achievements are incalculable. He started writing lyrics with the film, Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar in 2002 and subsequently wrote for Black Friday (2004), Aaja Nachle and Tashan. Piyush Mishra’s songs gave industry back to back hits like “Aarambh Hai Prachand” (Gulaal, 2009), “Ik Bagal” (Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 2, 2012), and “Husna” (MTV Coke Studio, 2012).

Piyush Mishra’s Life

He was born in Gwalior to Pratap Kumar Sharma. However, living in the authoritative household of his aunt, developed a rebellious streak in him, which showed up in his first poem, ‘Zinda ho haan tum koi shak nahin’ (Yes you are alive; of this, there is no doubt), he wrote in class 8th.

“Zinda ho haan tum koi shak nahin, saans lete hue dekha maine bhi hain,

Haath aur pairon aur jism ko harqatey khoob dete huey dekha maine bhi hain,

Ab bhale hi yeh kartey huey honth tum dard sehtey huey sakht see lete ho,

Ab hain bhi kya kum tumhaarey liye, khoob apni samajh mein toh jee lete ho”

He shifted to Mumbai in 2002, actor, lyricist and screenwriter, and receiving acclaim for his acting in Maqbool (2003) and Gangs of Wasseypur (2012). Around this time, he began to be drawn to the theatre – it was at places like Kala Mandair and Rangshri Little Ballet Troupe in Gwalior that his talent for the medium was first identified. Piyush acted as Maniac in operation three stars (an adaptation of Dario Fo’s play Accidental Death of an Anarchist).

Also Read: 8 Facts About ‘The Queen of Indipop’: Asha Bhosle

A lost and vile drunkard from the past has today become an almost ideal family man. Climbing from a dark weak background, he emerged as an example of self-transformation. He’s gone on air and has often reiterated in the media as being “ganda” and “neech.”  Now, let the dead past bury its dead; he’s done everything to swap this image. In 2010 he attended a course of Vipassana in Igatpuri.

Piyush Mishra received acclaim for his acting in Maqbool (2003) and Gangs of Wasseypur (2012). Wikimedia Commons
Piyush Mishra received acclaim for his acting in Maqbool (2003) and Gangs of Wasseypur (2012). Wikimedia Commons

Here are 20 Piyush Mishra facts that will amaze you about the journey of one of the most talented actors of Bollywood:

  1. When it comes to actor’s past journey, Piyush Mishra is a born rebel, 51 odd years of Piyush Mishra’s life are defined by a mix of disturbed childhood, wasted adulthood and an undeniable genius for arts and creativity.
  2. He grew up in Gwalior and was adopted by his father’s eldest sister at an early age
  3. Growing up in an authoritarian household incited in his rebellion and creativity both. Piyush Mishra attended Carmel Convent School, Gwalior, which according to him was the ‘wrong school.’
  4. Self-destructive in nature, Piyush Mishra admits that his anger drives his creativity.
  5. Priyakansha Sharma was his real name, which he changed to Piyush Mishra, by filing an affidavit when he was in class 10.
  6. Piyush Mishra moved to Mumbai as recently as 2003, before which he spent 20 years as an unruly and alcoholic theatre artist in Delhi. This was the most poetic and destructive phase of his life, marked by 24 hours work, alcohol and women.
  7. Piyush Mishra graduated from NSD (National School of Drama in 1986) and started a theatre group “Act One” with contemporaries like director NK Sharma, Manoj  Bajpai, Gajraj Rao and Ashish Vidyarthi.
  8. After becoming graduated from National School of Drama in 1986, he was considered to play the lead role in the famous blockbuster “Maine Pyar Kiya”. Piyush never made an effort and Sooraj Barjatya signed Salman Khan.
  9. Piyush Mishra did his film debut with Mani Ratnam’s Dil Se in 1998. He played the role of a C.B.I investigating Officer.
  10. Piyush Mishra television debut came with Tele-series, Rajdhani in 1989. He also worked in Shyam Benegal’s “Bharat Ek Khoj” and appeared in a horror TV serial, “Kile Ka Rahasya”.
  11. Piyush Mishra wrote lyrics of the famous musical score “Arre Ruk Ja Re Bande” and it gave him fame as a lyricist and singer. The song from the movie “Black Friday” is perhaps the most popular Indian Ocean song till date.
  12. He also gave stinging music for Anurag Kashyap’s “Gulaal,” And, he’s never had any formal training in music. He composed the music in 8 days and won the Stardust Award for “Standout Performance by Music Director: Gulaal”.
  13. Piyush Mishra songs from the movie Gulaal such as “Ye Shahar Humara Sota Hai” and “Yara Maula” are improvisations of songs Piyush Mishra did during theatre days.
  14. Piyush Mishra wrote dialogues for “The Legend of Bhagat Singh,”; it won him the award for the best Dialogue at the Zee Cine Awards
  15. Anurag Kashyap, Tigmanshu Dhulia, and Sai Kabir are the filmmakers Piyush shares a close bond with Anurag Kashyap, he says is a “Bad Habit.”
  16. If you remember Rockstar you can’t forget Dhingra, the music company owner who reiterates “image in everything… everything is image”
  17. All his dialogues in “Jhoom Barabar Jhoom” were self-written. The most famous of which is “Saj Gaye Lute hue sajinda jaise behte hai… aur yaar gaye magar hum besharam zinda jaise behte hain.”
  18. Piyush Mishra sang one of the most memorable Coke Studio India songs, Husna.
  19. Some of the Piyush Mishra movies are Gulaal, Gangs of Wasseypur, The Shaukeens, Pink, Dil Se and many more.
  20. He is well known for his performance in Swadesh Deepak’s Court Martial as Suraj Singh, first with Ranjeet Kapoor (1991) and later under the direction of Arvind Gaur (1996).
    Piyush Mishra shifted to Mumbai in 2002. Wikimedia Commons
    Piyush Mishra shifted to Mumbai in 2002. Wikimedia Commons

    Also Read: The Aspects You Don’t Want To Miss About Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

    Piyush Mishra is undoubtedly the kind of talent which only comes along once in a while. It’s not an overstatement, hence, when one says that Piyush Mishra is India’s, Bob Dylan. While most of us swoon over his songs and poetry, not all of us know about the roller coaster of a life he’s had. Receiving popularity at a later stage in his life, there are several aspects of his life that his fans don’t know.