He is widely regarded for his path-breaking performances in both theater and films, but actor Piyush Mishra says he chose acting as profession to overcome the inferiority complex.

Mishra, who is also a music director, lyricist, singer, scriptwriter, said there was a time when nobody paid attention to him and it was only when he did the role of a prince in a play, that he realised the power of the craft.

"I think I become what I am not through acting. I did a princely role in 1979. I was from a lower middle class family. I was filled with inferiority complex, was very introvert.

"Everybody refused to look at me, girls used to never give me attention. But when I performed, I thought I am ruling the world. In those two-and-half hours, I was saying laugh, people were laughing, I was saying cry, people were crying. I was amazed and said to myself this is a wonderful art," Mishra told reporters here last evening.

The 53-year-old artiste graduated from National School of Drama, Delhi in 1986 and then established himself as a theatre director, actor, lyricist and singer over next decade.

It was in 2002, when he shifted to Mumbai and went on to receive acclaim for his acting in films like "Maqbool", "Gulaal", "Gangs of Wasseypur" and the recent hit "Pink".

class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">Mishra said he spent initial years in search of what he truly wants to do in life, until the acting bug bit him."Before that (doing the play) I was a painter, I also played sitar in a troupe for four years but I longed for inner satisfaction, so in 1979 I just did the play and I thought I am the boss. The art of acting came to me out of my complex," he said.

It wasn't, however, a smooth sailing for Mishra as he found himself in a phase where he turned to alcohol, something which he overcame with acting.

"There is a purpose why we were born. How can it happen that we are coming from nothingness and going towards nothingness. So in that search, I got trapped in a very dangerous phase where I was into alcohol. I became an alcoholic. Even now I shudder.

"I have no apprehensions in telling that. But after coming out of that, I wanted to find out more about myself- khoje toh sahi kaha se aaye hai, kaha jaayege. There acting helped me a lot...I want to understand acting even till the micro-level," Mishra said.

He was speaking at the National Institute of Industrial Engineering's special event 'Avartan'. He was part of the celebrity talk show - Cita De La Prerana - which also included Shyam Benegal and Makrand Deshpande.

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