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Shahid Kapoor to those who slammed him for playing Manipuri boxer Dingko Singh: We are one country

To those who suggest only a Northeastern actor should portray boxer Dingko Singh, actor Shahid Kapoor says ‘let’s stop finding reasons to separate ourselves from each other’.

bollywood Updated: Sep 25, 2018 18:43 IST
Shreya Mukherjee
Shreya Mukherjee
Hindustan Times
Shahid Kapoor,Dingko Singh,Controvery
Shahid Kapoor will play the role of Manipuri boxer Dingko Singh in an upcoming biopic.(Instagram/shahidkapoor)

The era of people getting offended by films is far from over. When it was announced that actor Shahid Kapoor would portray pugilist Dingko Singh in the latter’s biopic, fans of both — the Asiad (1998) gold medallist and the actor —had rejoiced. However, there were some who felt that a Northeastern actor should portray the Manipuri boxer. Kapoor addresses the concern, and also talks about the other concern he has — dividing time between newborn son Zain and daughter Misha (2).

Some felt that an actor from the Northeast should portray Dingko Singh, the Manipuri boxer.

I was surprised (pauses), we are one country! I was born in Delhi, I live in Mumbai. I’ve played Tommy Singh, a Punjabi (in Udta Punjab; 2017), a Kashmiri boy (in Haider; 2016), now I’m playing Sushil Kumar Pant (Batti Gul Meter Chalu)… No one from these states seemed to have any problem… I think we should rise above all this.

I feel, the thing with biopic is that looking exactly like a person makes it caricature-ish. To me, representing someone as who he is as a person rather than what he looks like is more relevant. I’m doing the film because his journey is inspiring. I think it’s a privilege that the director thought I could do it and I hope that people will see it in the context. Let’s stop finding reasons to separate ourselves from each other. One of the most important things for an actor is to get over his colour, race, background… to discover new and different people and represent them.

What part of Dingko’s life story inspires you the most?

There are many achievers who get everything they deserve, yet there are others, especially in the field of sports, who are unsung heroes. After I heard about Dingko Singh’s journey. I felt that my generation needed to know about this man. I want to tell them that there was this guy who won medals for his country when at a time when even winning medals was rare, forget gold. And look what we have achieved in Asian Games now! Today we are here because of achievers like Dingko Singh.’

Who is Dingko Singh?
  • He is an Indian boxing hero. The pugilist, who hails from Manipur, grabbed a gold in the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok, with that he ended India’s 16-year wait for a boxing gold in the Asiad. Singh spent his childhood in an orphanage. In 2013, he was awarded the Padma Shri. He was also diagnosed with cancer a year ago.

Have you started preparing for the film?

Not yet. The biopic on Dingko will require a lot of prep. Boxing is one of the most complex and one of the most demanding sports. I have a lot of respect for boxing. I don’t think it’s been represented well on the Indian screen yet. There have been attempts which were good, but it’s important to get the sport right. I hope I can spend enough time (preparing) because it takes a lifetime to become a boxer. I have a few friends who are boxers and I know how passionate they are.

You have your hands full at home with the arrival of your son, Zain?

Yes, Mira (Rajput; wife) and I, as parents, are nervous. How would we divide time between Zain and Misha. The right balance is important.

How did you come up with the name Zain?

We had two names, Misha and Zain, in mind when we were planning to start a family two years back. So, we stuck to that (smiles).

Author tweets @Shreya_MJ

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First Published: Sep 25, 2018 18:43 IST