It’s been a long struggle for Vineet Kumar Singh, who has impressed critics and audience in the trailer of Anurag Kashyap’s Mukkabaaz. The actor plays an aspiring boxer who slogs day in and day out to achieve his dream of being a recognised boxer. Things go awry when he falls in love with a high caste, mute girl who happens to be the niece of the head of the state boxing federation.
The Varanasi boy, who has also written the script with his sister Mukti, says that a personal incident inspired him to write the story. “I had seen a picture of a state-boxing champion standing proudly in front of hundreds of people who were clapping for him. Then I saw the same boxer trying to hide his face. There was a sense of embarrassment on his face. That incident shook me. We have to realise that a sportsman’s career is very short-lived,” says the actor promoting the film across the country.
He says that his sister, who has studied physical education, has contributed to the script because she knew how the boxing community functions in the country and the life of boxers. Presented by Eros International and Aanand L Rai and produced by Colour Yellow in association with Phantom Films, the film also stars Zoya Hussain, Jimmy Shergill and Ravi Kishan.
A long struggle
Not many know that Vineet has studied Medical before making his way to Bollywood. The actor landed in Mumbai in 1999 and since then it’s been a long struggle not just to establish himself as an actor but to also find a producer and director for Mukkabaaz.
“I had written the script several years ago. I used to visit directors and producers in the hope that they will like the script and agree to back me. My only condition was that I would play the lead in the film and apart from that I wouldn’t question you,” he says.
But he only faced disappointment for almost three years. “They would suggest, ‘Vineet, why don’t you play one of the smaller roles and we will get someone else to play the lead or why don’t you make a few changes in the script and then we can take the story forward’. This went on for many months. The whole process was emotionally draining because at some places, I couldn’t even go beyond the security guard. Meanwhile, I kept working on my body and boxing skills because I thought if they decided to make the film, I should be ready. So I kept on training,” he says. He adds that whenever he felt emotional, he would cry his heart out and feel lighter. “I wanted to remain positive and not let the negativity affect me.”
Anurag Kashyap on board
Vineet has previously worked with the award-winning filmmaker in Ugly, Bombay Talkies and Gangs of Wasseypur - I and II. “Anurag sir has told me that he won’t work with me again because we have already worked together in four films. But during this phase, I had approached him because I wanted his opinion on the script. After listening to the story, he said that he will direct it but he is going to make a few changes to the script. Once he came on board, I forgot everything else and shifted to Patiala to work on my body and the sport. I knew he would take care of the film.”
He says that while working with Anurag, he had to unlearn everything he had learnt over the years.
“That’s because the character is different from all the roles I have played before. Also, Anurag sir improvises a lot on sets and you must be accepting of the new information,” he concludes.