OVER the last 14 years,actor Vineet Kumar Singh has bid farewell to several of his friends,who came to Mumbai with the dream of becoming an actor,but failed to find success. There were times when I helped them pack their bags and it felt like I was packing their dreams. It also made me wonder why I was still hanging out here waiting for that big break, says Singh. Yet,there was something within him that prodded him to keep at it.
Seated at a coffee shop in Versova,giving his first-ever interview,Singh says he is going through a range of emotions today. I dont know what I should say. But I am happy I am finally getting a chance to say something, he says. He keeps fidgeting on his chair,adjusting his sleeves. After an author-backed role in Anurag Kashyaps Gangs of Wasseypur (GoW),Singh is now being noticed for his portrayal of the lead role in Kashyaps segment of Bombay Talkies. The short film is based on his journey from Varanasi to Mumbai and his everyday struggle to meet Amitabh Bachchan and give him the murabba which his mother has sent with him. Incidentally,Amitabh Bachchans house was the first thing I had gone to see when I arrived in Mumbai, he says,reminiscing how life has come full circle since then.
Singh had first come to Mumbai in 1999 to take part in a talent contest called Superstar Hunt. This,after he had studied medicine and earned a doctors degree from Benares Hindu University. His father,a mathematician,was keen that he practise as a doctor and be an example for his younger siblings. Singh,however,had his heart set on acting as a career.
It was only to please my parents and to keep them away from societal pressures that I studied medicine. But my younger siblings were aware of my love for acting and got me enrolled in this talent contest, he says. Despite his parents disapproval,he came to Mumbai on a whim,took part in the contest and even won it. The win gave him momentary happiness,but did not further his career prospects. The only good thing that came out of it was I got in touch with Mahesh Manjrekar,who took me on as an assistant, he says.
Although this wasnt the dream Singh was chasing,he was forced to assist,since he had to pay his rent and bills in Mumbai. I had some savings from my internship days. But for how long could I survive on that? Hence I took up the job. Simultaneously,he also went for auditions and accepted miniscule roles in feature films and television shows,with the hope that a small role would one day give him a big break. I have even played Emraan Hashmis father in Crook and a ghost in one of the horror tele-serials. After doing 20-odd films and shows,his first big break came with Manjrekars City of Gold. His performance was praised,but the film was a box office dud and the struggle continued.
Finally,Singh decided to meet Kashyap,who he reveals is a cousin of his. But it is a known fact that Anurag chases his relatives away. So I went there only when I had a showreel to present. Kashyap welcomed him and asked him to audition.
Soon enough,he was portraying the role of Danish Khan in GoW and his life had changed for the better. The 35-year-old actor has now bagged two more projects,Issaq and Punit Malhotras Gori Tere Pyaar Main. It looks like finally it is all coming together. But there is a long way to go. I will be truly successful when my parents think I have finally achieved something, says Singh.