Thumbing his nose at the alleged infamous ‘nepotism’ concept of Bollywood, Vineet Kumar Singh being an outsider has still been able to make a niche for himself. Known for films like Gangs of Wasseypur, Saand Ki Aankh and his debut as a protagonist with Mukkabaaz, Vineet has indeed been enjoying his Bollywood stint.
Unfortunately, the pandemic put a spoke in his wheel even though his film schedules were racing ahead rather well. His film Siya has completed its first schedule and the second is yet to be done. He was going to start his next film, Aadhaar, but Covid played spoilsport. Nevertheless, Vineet, who is an Ayurveda physician, refused to while away his time, and instead started helping Covid patients across the nation. Vineet had tested positive for Covid while shooting for Siya, and that experience made him realise the varied problems Covid patients face.
“I was shooting for director Manish Mundra’s film, Siya, in Pratapgarh and my house is a few kilometres away from there. After completing the film, I travelled to Varanasi, my home town. But on the way back I started feeling uneasy. On reaching home, I isolated myself. I have a large family, and I had not visited them for a few years, so I was planning to meet everyone. But unfortunately, I was homebound. That made me realise the importance of helping others in the same situation. I started by helping a few friends and relatives who were facing problems. Then I got a call from young boys of the families I had helped. They wanted to join me. And, I was happy to include them. Gradually, more people joined in,” Vineet says.
Vineet then put social media to use and amplified his support for Covid-affected people. He formed a chain of volunteers in different cities like Mumbai, Pune, Varanasi, and many cities in Uttar Pradesh, through which he helps Covid patients. Explaining how the chain works, Vineet says, “I have volunteers in different parts of the city. These volunteers know their city in and out — they are aware of all the Covid protocols, etc. So, say a person from Patna gets in touch with a volunteer based in that city, the volunteer checks availability of beds, oxygen, etc, and shares the information with the person who needs it. This way we are able to reach a larger section of the society and help as many people as we can through the chain. I have also asked doctors I know for help — they are based in Delhi, Noida, Kanpur, Patna, Jamshedpur, Mumbai.”
Being a doctor and someone who has battled Covid, Vineet says he can empathise with the patients and their relatives who make emergency visits to the hospitals. “Actor Pankaj Tripathi was a huge help when I faced problems during my Covid battle. Being a doctor, I understand when a patient arrives in the hospital for a medical emergency. At that crucial moment what the patient and relatives feel, I have experienced that during my training days. I have seen and felt these things, and I understand this situation,” Vineet adds.
Actor Sonu Sood’s name is the first that's taken whenever people speak about the Covid crisis. And, whenever an actor steps out to lend a helping hand, comparisons are inevitably drawn — between the actor and Sonu Sood. “I am not the next Sonu Sood... Main Vineet hi theek hoon. I never had any inclination to be the next Sonu Sood,” Vineet signs off.