We have merrily celebrated the success of Milkha Singh but seldom got a chance to have a rendezvous with the inspiration that has made him what he is today. ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ is perhaps one such piece of cinematic art that bridges the gap between the sportsman and the various incidents that led him to superstardom.
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s film is a tribute to the legendary sportsman. After having made films like ‘Aks’, ‘Rang De Basanti, ‘Delhi 6’, Mehra succeeds in pulling off BMB; a feat that speaks volumes about his passion for the subject.
Not that the film doesn’t have any drawback. But it surely leaves you with feelings that you may not be able to describe in words.
The partition of India in 1947 cast deep wounds on thousands. Milkha Singh was one such victim of an event that created history. Milkha (Farhan Akhtar) is a champion who is often troubled by his painful past. The death of his family members in his own backyard leaves him with deep scars that have failed to heal with time.
His father’s last words “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” resonates in his ears time and again, rattling his senses. These words uttered by his father have deeper connotations. Milkha has to literally run for his life. This dark episode subsequently gives him the much needed boost to his career as an athlete when he grows up.
Dire circumstances land an orphaned Milkha in a refugee camp post partition. He reunites with his sister Isri (Divya Dutta), his only hope in the camp. As time rolls, we see a naïve Milkha transform into a street-smart lad who steals to make his ends meet.
The transformation doesn’t end there. Had he not come across his ladylove (Sonam Kapoor), the world wouldn’t have ever known Milkha Singh. To win her heart, Milkha quits petty stealing and takes up a responsible job. He joins the Indian Army.
During a training session, Milkha is spotted by his trainer (Pawan Malhotra), who discovers the athlete in him. And with him begins the success story of the legendary Milkha Singh aka the Flying Sikh.
Farhan Akhtar as Milkha is an absolute treat to watch. None could have reprised the role of the athlete but him. Sonam, though has very little screen time, does her bit quite well. But the actors who add colour to the film are- Pawan Malhotra, Prakash Raj and Yograj Singh. They have pulled off stunning performances worth loud applause.
The film on the whole is entertaining but has certain glitches that could have been avoided. Had the run time been a little shorter, perhaps it would have been a lot better.
Prasoon Joshi weaves the story with various emotions. But the one that stands out is Milkha's love for his country- India.
The music by Shankar-Ehasaan-Loy is like breathe of fresh air, but Mehra could have avoided lip-syncing songs.
Nonetheless, the mise-en-scene was apt. Big thumbs up to the set designer. And the one to have complimented the art direction team is the director of photography - Binod Pradhan. It would have indeed been a task to visually recreate massive houseful stadiums!
‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ may not impress an average moviegoer, for it comes across as a very slow film. But it will certainly leave you with a sense of pride for having the legendary athlete as a fellow countryman.
If you are a patriotic Indian, you will be left teary eyed and your head held high.