Bhaag Milkha Bhaag: Movie Review

The biopic of the legendary Indian runner, Milkha Singh, nicknamed the ‘Flying Sikh’ has now been released under the name of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. In a recent interview, Milkha Singh said that he had given the script to Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra because after seeing his Rang de basanti, he was confident that Mehra would be able to do justice with his story. The film clearly reveals that the athlete’s confidence has not been misplaced. Mehra has delivered a film packed with emotion, inspiration and heart which is bound to touch you.

The plot of the story is based on the life of Milkha Singh who lived in Multan in Pakistan. He loses his family in violence when Pathans attacked the village in which he lives. Before his death, his father screams to him, “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” and Milkha starts to run. Later, he comes to India where he lives in Delhi with his sister and steals cola to make a living. Here he meets a girl and in order to impress her, joins the army. He starts to run – sometimes for an extra glass of milk or to get out of parades. Here begins his training. Running becomes everything for him. He creates a number of world records and is given the name, “the Flying Sikh”. He wins the Asiad and the Commonwealth games, but misses the Olympic medals in 1956 and again in 1960. Still, he keeps on running.

The script of the film has been written by Prasoon Joshi and is packed with emotion. The 3 hour 7 minute long film could have been shortened somewhat – especially in the first half. However, the pace of the film is in no hurry to keep up with the speeding Sikh on the screen. The music is unremarkable and removal of one or two songs would not have been amiss. However, director Mehra has succeeded in preserving the spirit of struggle and the will to win in this film.

Farhan Akhtar excels in his role of Milkha Singh. Critic Aseem Chhabra writes, "Farhan Akhtar is a machine. Watching how he uses each muscle in his body - on his neck, chest, arms, abdomen, legs-- as he runs in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, it is hard to believe that this father of two will turn 40 in exactly six months.” The screenplay, acting and direction has come together in a spectacular and spellbinding show which makes Bhaag Milkha Bhaag something more than a mere sports film.