Mumbai: Release of "Mukkabaaz" will be the end of an arduous journey for lead actor Vineet Kumar Singh, who also debuts as a feature film writer with the sports romance.
Having written the script with a desire to play the lead, the 36-year-old struggled to find a director for the project for three years, overcame injuries while getting in shape to perform the demanding role of a boxer and even battled financial crunch.
"All those I approached liked the story but I was told to play some other role or associate myself as a writer with this film. But I did not want this to happen. I approached around 25 producers and none of them were keen to do this film with me. I was like maybe in six months or a year I will find someone but that did not happen," he told PTI in an interview.
Vineet, who has acted in films like "Gangs of Wasseypur", "Bombay Talkies", wrote "Mukkabaaz" with his sister and a friend.
The "Ugly" actor thought Anurag Kashyap -- the director and co-producer of "Mukkabaaz" -- will not buy into his dream project. A meeting to take the "Black Friday" director's "feedback" on the script ended with more than advice.
Vineet said he was hesitant to approach the director who had already cast him in three of his films.
"After he read the script, he called me up and that phone call is the most important call of my life. He told me 'I will direct it and you will play the lead."
Vineet said Kashyap wanted him to look like a real boxer and determined to give his best, he packed his bags and went to Patalia to train with real boxers.
"As a boxer, I had to be physically fit. I was training for stamina and physical strength. Before meeting Anurag sir, I did train in boxing in Mumbai for a brief period. I realised that it was not proper boxing but MMA. I discussed this with Anurag sir and he spoke to (star boxer) Vijender Singh, who later spoke to a coach in Patalia."
With an aim to understand the inner life of a boxer, Vineet started the training. His only condition was to be treated like a real boxer.
"In the film, I have fought in different styles. I was playing with international players like Neeraj Goyal, Deepak Tanwar and Sandeep Yadav."
There were lot of injuries that Vineet faced due to his extensive training but overcame them.
"I did not have a house to stay. I was running out of money and had no work. If I quit this, then I had to be a doctor. I felt if I give up, then the problem is with me. I did not give up."
Vineet says the sports romance was shot like a real fight.
"Action meant you will fight and keep fighting. It was more like real fight. Nothing was planned in advance."
Vineet, a national level basketball player, says he chose boxing because he wanted the focus to be on him in the film.
"Being a basketball player, I could have easily written a story around it but it would have had 12 actors, as the sport requires that many people. So out of selfish reasons, I chose a film on boxing so that I get the chance to show my skills."
"Mukkabaaz", also staring Zoya Hussain, is slated to release on January 12.