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Vineet Kumar Singh: I Was Offered Roles of Watchman, Car Cleaner, Pav Bhaji Vendor After Bombay Talkies | Exclusive

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Vineet Kumar Singh and Akanksha Singh featured in ZEE5’s web show Rangbaaz: Darr Ki Rajneeti. The first two seasons of Rangbaaz were appreciated by viewers and critics alike. The show saw Saqib Saleem in the role of a notorious gangster and the most wanted criminal. In Rangbaaz 3, Vineet stepped into the shoes of Saheb, aka Haroon Ali Shah Beig, a successful politician, whose world is a mix of crime and politics. Helmed by Sachin Pathak, the series sees Akanksha Singh as Saheb’s wife. In a joint interaction with News18 Showsha, Vineet and Aakanksha opened up about prep for their roles in the show. The duo also shared their thoughts of stereotypes or typecasting in the industry.

The best thing about this project or the script

Vineet: I haven’t played something like Saheb ever before. However, I played a gangster in Gangs Of Wasseypur, but he belonged to a family rather than running the system. Saheb, aka Haroon Ali Shah Beig, is a full-fledged system in itself. He is a successful politician, and his world is a mix of crime and politics.

Aakanksha: Rangbaaz’s powerful writing and story made me say yes. When you see Rangbaaz 3, it’s powerful, it’s crisp, it’s entertaining and it’s everything you would want in a web series.

Fun BTS from the sets of Rangbaaz

Vineet: There was an encounter scene, and a massive attack of cops on Saheb, which had to be shot at night, and we started shooting it around 2 am. We had to finish it late at night. Generally, in a village set up, people go to sleep by 7 or 8 pm. After midnight, they heard the noise of gunshots, and when it started, the cops received multiple calls, that something has happened- it was also because, after some time, the elections were also about to take place in the region. Many people thought that something had happened, and they called the cops. A whole team of police reached the place and the cops got mixed with the real ones. And we had to stop the shoot and tell them that it was only for the show.

Once, we had a darbar sequence (court) sequence in which we had fake money kept with us. Someone had informed people that we are distributing money ahead of the elections to support our representative. So, a lot of people turned up to the shooting area to receive the money, we had to explain that these were the Rs 500 notes that were banned during demonization and we had to stop the shoot for 3 to 4 hours.

Thoughts on stereotypes in the industry

Vineet: Yes, it exists, and in our field, you generally get roles after people see what you have done in the past. In fact, when I did Bombay Talkies, one of my friends told me, “People have seen you walking with a pickle jar in hand, and they are thinking that Anurag Kashyap has picked up one ‘Natha’ (Peepli Live character) from the roads. Now, you will have to explain to people that you can play different roles.” I agree that there is a stereotype in the industry, as I was offered roles of the watchman, car cleaner, or pav bhaji vendor after the movie. We will have to explain to the audience that we can do different roles. After each film I faced this. After Gangs Of Wasseypur, I was offered the role of gangster several times. After Bombay Talkies, I had gotten several offers to play characters who come from small towns to Mumbai. So this happens all the time.

Aakanksha: I have suffered a lot because of stereotyping. I had taken a long break, and I had to move away from television because of that reason. We want to experiment with every role. As an actor, I have the starvation to play different characters, and till the time you attach me to a particular character, my hunger for it won’t be satisfied. From the beginning, I always wanted to play different characters. I have taken my time to do different roles, and have said no to many. Stereotyping is there, and it will flourish because it is very easy access. Suppose, you have seen someone in a role, and they have done it nicely, they’ll say that we should take the same actor. They think that the actor will already know, how they want one character to be. But at the same time, as an artist, we would want to explore different characters – and if we have the opportunity, don’t take away that opportunity from us.

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