Vineet Kumar Singh: Freedom is a necessary part of existence
The actor talks about his new release Gold, in which he shares screenspace with Akshay Kumar
Mukkabaaz actor Vineet Kumar Singh shares screen-space with Akshay Kumar, Mouny Roy, Kunal Kapoor, Amit Sadh and Sunny Kaushal in Reema Kagti's Gold. Slated for release on August 15, the film chronicles independent India's first gold medal win at the 1948 Summer Olympics. Gold is touted as a patriotic sports drama set against a historical backdrop.
You essayed a boxer in your previous film, Mukkabaaz. You play a field hockey player in Gold. How difficult was the transition?
Boxing is an individual sport, while hockey is played in a team. They are very different, although physical fitness is a prequisite for both. I was prepared for Gold in terms of fitness and strength. I have played hockey in my childhood, which helped a lot. We trained for five-six months for the film. In hockey, every move is choreographed between its players. We had to get that synergy right.
Sports films often comment on larger social realities. There's a lot of history attached to the story of Gold...
This film travels from 1936 to 1948 through important historical events. India scored a hat-trick at the 1936 Olympics, but our players were made to wave the British flag and sing its national anthem. It was their dream to win a gold for independent India. During WW2, the Olympics was cancelled and no international hockey was happening. In 1947, the partition happened and tormented our country. The opportunity again came in 1948, when India won its first gold medal as a free nation.
Tell us about your character in the film.
I play a character called Imtiaz Shah. He undergoes a very interesting and dramatic journey. The partition of the country affects his life deeply. It was an amazing experience to essay this role.
How was the experience of working with artistes of the stature of Akshay Kumar?
It was great to meet Akshay Kumar on the sets. Amit Sadh and Kunal Kapoor were great co-stars as well. I knew Sunny through his brother Vicky and their dad Sham Kaushal, who directed the action scenes in Gangs of Wasseypur and Ugly. We all bonded well during the training.
As a rising actor, was there a fear of getting lost in an ensemble cast?
I keep a positive mindset in life. Filmmaking is a team effort. There are lots of people and departments involved. I've been a basketball player, so I understand the importance of team work. It doesn't bother me. Even Sholay had an ensemble cast; would I reject the role of Gabbar Singh if it were offered to me? I don't have any insecurities about working with other actors. Gold is a big film and will be seen by a wider audience. It will benefit every actor who has worked in it.
The film releases on Independence Day. What does the idea of freedom mean to you?
Every human loves freedom. It is a beautiful and necessary part of our existence, be it in speech, expression or work. That said, our freedom shouldn't disrupt the lives of others. It's important to maintain peace in society. Where there's peace, there's prosperity.
Your next film, set in Jharkhand, is based on the first man to receive an Aadhar card...
The film is titled Aadhar. It is produced by Manish Mundra, whose production house (Drishyam Films) has won four National Awards so far. The film is directed by Bengali filmmaker Suman Ghosh, who is also a professor of economics at Florida Atlantic University. I am very happy and excited for the project. It is very different from any film I've done so far.