Vineet Kumar Singh: An actor of substance

He was seen in films such as 'Gangs of Wasseypur' with Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Mumbai Talkies with Amitabh Bachchan, Ugly with Ronit Roy and most recently as the protagonist in 'Mukkabaaz'. In a quick chat, the actor opens about himself.

Vineet Kumar Singh

In the last decade or so, the Hindi film industry has seen the growth of several actors who chose a role and not a film, and are not bothered by its length, but only interested in the script and the substance of the role. One such actor is Vineet Kumar Singh, who was seen in films such as 'Gangs of Wasseypur' with Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Mumbai Talkies with Amitabh Bachchan, Ugly with Ronit Roy and most recently as the protagonist in 'Mukkabaaz'. In a quick chat, he opens about himself. 

How did acting happen to you?

I never came to work in films for money. I am a qualified Ayurveda doctor. It is my passion for cinema and acting, due to which I am in this industry. I come from a non-film background, and I came to Mumbai to participate in a talent hunt show. From there I went on to assist Mahesh Manjrekar, and after seven to eight years of working in different departments of filmmaking, I started acting and nearly after 10 years of struggle, Gangs of Wasseypur happened.

How was the initial journey?

Although I always wanted to be an actor, because of my hands-on learning during my first few years in the Hindi film industry, I have knowledge of different departments of filmmaking that has enabled me to write songs and scripts as well. Before Gangs of Wasseypur happened, I had done quite a few films, serials and TV commercials. The length of the roles never mattered. I was first noticed in the film City of Gold, which was made by Mahesh Manjrekar. I approached Anurag after almost 10 years of working in the film industry because I wanted to have a body of work to showcase.

Tell us about ‘Mukkabaaz’. The film came after a long break in your career?

I was being offered similar kind of roles, and no matter how cliched it may sound, I didn’t want to repeat myself, and after a substantial wait for an exciting role, I decided to write one for myself. It was one roller-coaster ride. Initially, my sister, a friend and I started writing the script of Mukaabaaz, the friend had to leave midway, but my sister and I continued. This was a phase when I was declining work, because I had to concentrate on writing, and it started taking a toll on my finances. Thereafter the struggle began to search for a production house.

My only condition was that I will play the main lead. Production houses were interested in the script, but they were not keen to take me as the lead. Then, I submitted my script to Phantom Films. I didn’t expect to get a confirmation, all that I expected was some suggestions and modifications in the script. They offered suggestions, but Anurag also decided to make the film with me. Anurag told me, ‘I will only make the film with you, provided you train like a real boxer.’

How was the phase? When you were training for ‘Mukaabaaz’, did you, at any point, have any doubts?

I decided to train at the boxing school in Punjab that has produced some of the greatest boxers in India. I left my house in Mumbai, sold off my belongings and went to Punjab. I became a part of the system, stayed in the dormitory and trained for a year. I never had any doubt, I am of the belief that if there is an iota of optimism then that is enough to drive you. My optimism paid off, Mukaabaaz was made.

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Vineet Kumar Singh: An actor of substance

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