VINEET KUMAR SINGH
Interview By: ANKITA R. KANABAR
Known for his work in films like ‘Gangs Of Wasseypur’ and ‘Ugly’, Vineet Kumar Singh teams up again with AnuragKashyap. ‘Mukkabaz’ is a very special film for the actor, and here he shares why. He also reveals why he decided to write this script. Read on…
What is it about ‘Mukkabaz’ which worked as a USP for you? And what made you write this script?
This film is a socio-political sports drama, it’s a love story, there is a boxer in the film who has his own small struggles. He is stuck in the norms of our society, and some conflict keeps happening in his life. For instance, even sports has casteism and there are many things being tackled in the film, which are spoken about less today. When ‘Gangs Of Wasseypur’, ‘Bombay Talkies’ and ‘Ugly’ – these films came out, then the work coming my way was very similar. The characters I would get were similar to Danish Khan. I didn’t want to do same stuff, so I was saying noto many projects. Then for some time, I started thinking that I’ve spent so much time struggling, Irealised that the kind of work I see myself doing, is not the kind of work people have for me. So, I started writing for myself. That’s how I started writing ‘Mukkabaz’. I’ve been a basketball player earlier so I’ve experienced many things. So, I’ve also used many experiences into this film. My sister and I worked on it, and once it was ready, we started pitching the script to people. I knew that since it was a film on boxing, I really had to work hard to train myself. But a lot of time passed, and nothing was happening. People used to like the script, and were offering money to buy it. And then there were some, who thought I should do some other role in the film, not of the boxer. I was happy in my head that something is good about the film, that people are giving me such offers. Finally I went to Phantom and pitched it to Anurag sir, but never thought he himself would make the film. I thought atleast I would get feedback from Anurag sir on this. But he told me, that I liked your script and I’m making this film with you in it. Every day, I was finding a way out for this, but never thought that he would be directing this film. He told me one thing that I won’t make ‘Mukkabaz’, if you don’t play the boxer in the film. I will make some changes according to my sensibilities. I was happy that atleast my writing part has ended and now I will start my work as an actor.
How was the training part?
So, I immediately went to Patiala for boxing training. Initially it wasn’t easy. Training went on, and I kept getting injured. I was training amidst professional boxers and they wondered why does he want to be a boxer at this age, and I never told them I am an actor. Slowly, thanks to my coaches Anupreet sir, Harpreet sir, who is the coach of the Indian team, I learnt. I was training for 3-4 months in Mumbai before things fell into place and Anurag sir came on board, so I understood I won’t be able to train myself here. The moment Anurag sir decided to direct it, I went to Patiala and trained for it for a year.
What was the most satisfying part about ‘Mukkabaz’ – writing or acting?
I didn’t write the film because I wanted to write it, I wrote it because I wanted to act in the film. As an actor I love working and it’s because I want a bit of freedom to do good work. To choose from good scripts. All my efforts were just so that I can work more hard. I enjoy acting the most. The feeling between action and cut is irreplaceable.
In today’s scenario, what’s the biggest struggle for an actor like you? When the character is bigger than the actor…
Films are made and many films are made every year, but if I win people’s trust thatVinit will be able to do this, only then I will get good parts. But there should be some good work to win that trust a well. I was sitting idle and but a lot of times refused work because it was all similar. I kept my slate clean that I only want to do good work.
“I didn’t write the film because I wanted to write it, I wrote it because I wanted to act in the film”
How did you keep yourself motivated when you were waiting for good work to come your way?
For every person it’s a different motivation. For me, it was just that if I have left so much, my internal conflict was just that what will I do if I quit this? This situation is very tough in itself. I’ve struggled for so long, even after that it’s not happening, then what’s the point? If I don’t do this, then I’m a doctor. So whatever is happening, is only because of me so that’s what keeps me motivated.
Because you’ve written the script, was it easier to connect to the film and connect to the skin of the character?
In the process of training, I removed everything from my head which I had put in as a writer. My working process was as normal as it was in ‘Wasseypur’ or ‘Ugly’. The amount of fun I have working with Anurag sir is amazing. He gives freedom to his actors that you feel so good. You get away with your doubts. I came in completely empty on this film as an actor. I got emotional honestly when I saw the clap and seeing the team which came together for this one and made this such a great experience. I’m thankful to Anurag sir, Anand sir who trusted someone like me.