Farhan Akhtar’s Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is an adrenaline-fuelled biopic based on one of the most revered Indian athletes Milkha Singh. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag not only depicts the glory days of his gold-winning athletic career, but the trying times which moulded Milkha Singh into the Flying Sikh we know him as today.
It is a true story inspired from a life that went from the pits to the palace so to say… a life that saw partition, a lost childhood, homelessness, petty crime, glorious victories, nationwide renown to finally when he lost the penultimate race of his life, the 400 meters at the Rome Olympics, 1960. To start off with Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is more than an apt homage to Mikha Singh. The blood, sweat, tears and toil Milkha Singh put in to achieving his dream is perfectly and poignantly narrated.
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag starts with Farhan with his back to the camera, entering the podium with other athletes. He stands tall to realize the magnanimity of the stage his life has sprinted into and from here on Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, the movie flies off to tell a story that leaves you breathless, teary eyed, laughing and touched.
However, there are two aspects that let Bhaag Milkha Bhaag down. First, it tends to get sluggish in the first half. Secondly, it somewhere fails to immerse the viewer in the era of the 1940s to 60s. Direction and script by Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra and Prasoon Joshi do justice to the biography, however one wonders at the cinematic liberty they have used to romanticize Milkha and make him larger than life.
Editing by P Bharathi is effortless making Bhaag Milkha Bhaag flow along smoothly. Thankfully, the music sticks to the script and to the time period, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have stuck to the true roots of Punjabi music without resorting to typical Bollywood beats. Farhan’s strenuous training to look like a real practicing athlete, more so like Milkha Singh, has paid off really well. He performs flawlessly & looks astonishingly, every bit like the original Flying Sikh; he seems to have totally gotten into Milkha Singh’s soul and skin. He deserves a standing ovation for sure.
The other actor who also stands out head over shoulders is Divya Dutta. She has given a splendid performance. Jabtej Singh, as the young Milkha, is superb. Pawan Malhotra and Yograj Singh as the two coaches are excellent. Sonam Kapoor, Rebecca Breeds are adequate in their short roles. Art Malik fits the bill of Farhan's father. Prakash Raaj leaves a mark. Dalip Tahil, K.K. Raina, Nawab Shah, Meesha Shafi, Dev Gill & Shanta Kumar are good in their respective parts. The 3.5 star Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is aimed at inspiring and promoting athletics to the Indian youth and one hopes that it will succeed in doing so. Farhan Akhtar’s had a big contribution in moulding young minds by creating inspiring and motivational cinema and this one certainly fits the bill.