Bhaag Milkha Bhaag: A Review


A slow but an enjoyable movie

I had only heard about Milkha Singh from my parents and was aware of the age old relaxing joke. And thus I was eagerly waiting to watch this “Flying Sikh” on the big screen; what added to my excitement was the star cast.

Rakesh Omprakash Mehra’s Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is straight from the heart. The movie which presents to us Milkha Singh’s life, mostly unedited, captures almost all the important moments of his life, the ups and downs, victories, disappointments and emotions are all very well portrayed.

Farhan Akhtar looks like a real athlete and his eerie resemblance to Milkha Singh makes the movie even more natural. Even though there are a few camera tricks involved, the way he moulded his body and presented himself is commendable!

Story line

The story opens with the 1960 Olympics where Milkha narrowly missed winning the medal and then takes us back in time when three gentlemen start conversing about him on their way from Delhi to Chandigarh. The audience is taken back to the days before he became a full- fledged athlete and also to his childhood days.

Milkha’s (Farhan Akhtar) coach Gurudev Singh (Pawan Malhotra) starts narrating his story during the train ride taking us on a roller coaster ride. Milkha’s struggle as a kid and the he copes with the deaths in the family during the 1947 partition is shown very clearly.

He becomes a vagabond post partition and finds his sister Divya Dutta (Ishri) in India. The story keeps oscillating between present, past and his childhood days and Milkha never stops running the race called life.

He falls in love with Biro. Sonam Kapoor as Biro is cute and thankfully her role was not too long. To become somebody and to be eligible to marry Biro, Milkha becomes an athlete and comes out of his comfort zone to prove himself. But Biro doesn’t wait leaving him heart broken. And that’s when Milkha realises the value of life.

Opportunities fall in his lap and he uses every drop of his sweat and every ounce of his energy to win. Asian games, National games, Common Wealth games and every game where he succeeds are portrayed in the movie.

While enjoying the results of his perennial efforts he comes across an Australian damsel with whom he has a brief affair. He detaches from all emotional attachments and submits himself absolutely to his sport and undergoes hard-core training under the supervision of Yograj Singh who acts as the National Coach, Ranveer Singh.

The scenes where he undergoes training are brilliantly shot. His victory against Pakistan’s athlete, Abdul Khaliq (Dev Gill) gives him new wings of confidence. He is finally persuaded by Jawaharlal Nehru to attend the sports meet in Pakistan which is held for the betterment of relations between the two countries.

His final victory in the movie is loved by the audience. Pakistan’s coach mocks him by saying that this can be his last game. Every one hooted when Farhan  replies,”Then I will run like this is my last run.”

Star Cast and Performances 

The kid Japtej Singh who acted as young Milkha did a splendid job. His acting is up to the mark and blended well with the script. In fact there were many scenes where I felt that he did a better job than Farhan.

Divya Dutta as Milkha’s sister is so natural for the role.

Pawan Malhotra is amazing as Farhan’s coach.

Prakash Raj’s brief role as Ustaad (Sir) is quite enjoyable. The South Indian accent and his Hindi made the audience laugh out loud.

Yograj Singh is like a no nonsense coach who gives the toughest possible training to Milkha. All other people in support cast blended well with the script as well. Dalip Tahil as Nehru, Rebecca Breeds as Stella from Australia, Dev Gill, Nawab Shah (Pakistani coach) were like the perfect fits for the roles.

Binod Pradhan’s cinematography is beautiful and the music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy adds spice to the movie. Songs are soulful and the lyrics, stirring. Three cheers to Prasoon Joshi.

I absolutely loved the song “Mera yaar hai rab varga” and enjoyed rest of the songs too!

Plus points

  • Farhan Akhtar is the heart of the movie. No one else could have performed the role better.
  • Cinematography is brilliant and songs are foot tapping.
  • The story set in pre-independence era shows the nuances of that period perfectly.
  • Major plus point of the movie is that it is a biopic, a genre that no one has experimented with before.

The only minus point is that the movie drags at times. There are some unnecessary scenes like Farhan drinking two cans of ghee as if it is fruit juice. This scene is pretty long and could have been cut short. There are many lengthy scenes like these which made the movie three hours ten minutes long.

Keeping this point aside it’s a movie worth watching, if you can ignore the slow pace which is so unlike the pace of the “flying sikh.” Its like a race with Farhan Akhtar, a race that you will never forget.

My rating: 3.5/5

Afshan Shaikh

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