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Actor Sanjay Mishra, whose movie Turtle is based on water crisis, believes issue-based films have a lasting impact


Actor Sanjay Mishra has ushered in 2022 with a shoot that has taken him to Lucknow. Sitting amidst the fresh green fields and enjoying nature, he’s happy doing what he likes best—working on yet another project.

The Shukla ji of Office Office has an impressive line-up—three films with major production houses and meaty roles, which he doesn’t have the liberty to divulge yet, but among those that he can are 36 Farmhouse, Hasal and the recent releases, Waah Zindagi and Turtle. This Dinesh S. Yadav directorial is based on water crisis.

Says Mishra, “I have done a similar film, Kadvi Hawa, before. It is films like these that make me feel complete as an artiste. Turtle talks about water. Today mothers give a bottle of water to children for school, but we must be ready for a time when one has to ration it. Many cities are suffering from water shortage; the threat is real.”

Turtle, which did the festival circuit, was released recently on Zee5. “When you do films like Turtle, Kadvi Hawa and Guthlee, you know the generation next is going to remember you.” Ishrat R. Khan’s directorial Guthlee touches caste system and Kadvi Hawa, directed by Nila Madhab Panda, is based on climate change.

Changing content

OTT has increased the reach of films on varied themes. But the trend started way back. “People have started to realise the value of a story. That there is a world beyond hero, heroine, ma, baap, comedian and villain. There are more dramas in the world apart from pyar-mohabbat. Filmmakers like Shyam Benegal, Govind Nihalani and Kundan Shah, who made a film like Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, started focusing on content. Then came films like Ankhon Dekhi and Masaan, which viewers appreciated. What OTT has done is to take these films to homes.” However, on the downside, the cinematic experience is compromised, “In movie halls there is only one interval, but amongst different digressions at home, film experience is interrupted.”

Work is worship

While recognition has come Mishra’s way, he focuses on work. “Yes, one wants attention but the day you start to think that you are great, the game is over. Giving one’s best each day is the only way forward.” If one sees Mishra having reached a particular standing, he sees it’s just a beginning. “There is way more to do, far ahead to go.”

If 2020 and 2021 warned the world that plans do not always work, Mishra is hoping for a not-so-harsh 2022. “What we saw in 2020 and 2021 was nature at work. We are still in it, hopefully by March we can begin to get out of it. To stay alive and have your loved ones with you is the biggest thing one can ask for from this year. And good work; I am working on many films and that too in the main roles.” If all goes well, there is Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 and Cirkus, towards the end of 2022.

An alumnus of National School of Drama, Mishra is as much for studying books as people. “In any institute, one does study books but also souls you meet and encounter. A person is like a book and one learns as much from texts as from different souls that you bump into.”

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