‘My journey into his life through the film, ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, made me understand how devastating this loss was for him. However, Milkha Singh’s extraordinary resilience made him step out of the darkness of failure and find redemption. But his catharsis was not easy, for Milkha had to face his inner demons and deepest fears to come through as a winner, in life..’
– Farhan Akhtar
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag was just too awesome for words. Farhan Akhtar outdid Himself. Such performance. Lovely dialogues and screenplay. And what music! Simply spontaneous, so much so that you find yourself dancing with them. And the sequences were so surreal that the whole theater cheers for Milkha in the races. Amazing stuff. Glad to have bagged the whole family along to the movies. DO NOT MISS IT. Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra great job !
So, basically this movie tells us the story of the Flying Sikh… Milkha Singh… one of India’s best athletes (or, The Best)… Life’s victories, losses, memories and lessons make it worth all the effort. And this movie is all about it. Movie begins with how Milkha Singh loses at the Rome Olympics…and all his glory is turned to ashes and he enters into a shell. That’s when Nehru Ji (our then Prime Minister) receives an invitation from Air Marshal Ayub Khan (the President of Pakistan in those days) for a Friendly Sports’ Championship between the two countries who’d been in conflict ever since the Great Partition. Milkha being the Star of the Nation was chosen to lead the contingent but he blatantly refuses. And thus, Nehru ji sends a party to convince him. And that party consisted of his two coaches who tell us the story of how an orphaned Punjabi boy turned into the Nation (literally translating) … how Milkha bana India.
After escaping from the harsh conditions for Sikhs in his village and ending up in a refugee camp in India… he goes through a really bad time…seeing his elder sister being tormented by her husband. And when he tried to instill sense into his jijaji, he’s thrown out of the house. To fend for himself he starts his career as a thug…looting coal-engines…and grows up to be the perfect jester…with no real aim in life except earning the next meal and loafing around with his bandit-crew until he meets Biro, the love of his life…to win her hand and respect, he must make something out of his life. And so, he joins the Indian Army which turns the lad into a man. This is where his talent is discovered and he goes ahead to compete at the brigade games and then eventually, the Nationals. He makes it to the Olympics, with great difficulty.
But his efforts are squandered when one night of what I’d call aiyashi in Melbourne (the night before his Qualifying round) results in loss. He’s devastated and realizes his mistake. And he makes it his aim in life to break the World Record and puts in his heart and soul into preparing for the next games. Training day and night. This makes him the Champion he dreamed of becoming bringing Pride to his country. I love the scene where he enters into another Champion’s room (in his not-so-glam) days before the Brigade Games and tries on the Indian Blazer (a matter of pride to wear around)… and sees himself in the mirror and visualizes how he wants his future to be. A lot of lessons for us, youngsters.
I’m not telling what happens when he goes back to his village. Well, that’s because the movie has just released and I don’t want to give out too many spoilers.
And then coming back to the present (their present)…they manage to make Milkha agree. But he feels the whole idea of travelling back to the country where his parents were slaughtered before his very own eyes…unsettling. He goes there, anyway…where he has to beat their fastest runner…the tornado of Asia. He re-visits his old village…seeing everything happen again…right before his eyes as he stands frozen and then breaks down. He has come to terms with his past. And is ready to take on life…make a fresh start.
What happens in the race the next day is something I want you to see and ‘feel’…in cinemas. Whether he beats the world record or not?
But the scenes were just so awesome with energy pouring right out!
Coming to the actors, the roles played by the supporting actors…amazing. The coaches did a commendable job and Divya Dutta is always amazing with her subtle yet powerful acting.
Farhan Akhtar obviously stole the show away. The kind of hard hard hard work he has put in the movie to obtain the tree different looks in the movie!!
Okay so I’m (shamelessly) admitting to the fact that Farhan looks absolutely stunning with all that muscle. But to imagine how deep he gets into his role…commendable. And now I can proudly say that I now have (finally) a favorite Bollywood Hero. Farhan Akhtar is a consistent performer with most of his movies being raving successes. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Rock On (Oh, Gawd, fun!)… And yeah, his husky voice just adds to the charm. So, yeah, Farhan you set the screen on fire (and I don’t think the film was too long if you were absorbed into it…unless people were too busy being jealous of your perfect torso…’ Inshallah kamar 28’… Pat yourself, this (and I mean ALL your efforts) was amazing. Forever impressed.
Coming to the fun parts, the movie has a lot of, well, decent comedy. Scenes portraying his early life in his village..with his many notorious adventures with his friend Samarjeet (and his tui)…and looking up to his Father. It’s not riotous…but pretty good. The scenes in the Army Training Center at Secunderabad (well it brought back loads of memories back since we’ve stayed at Secunderabad as a fauji family) It is said that some actual jawans and officers took part in the movie filming. And the Services helped the crew and cast to get the real feel of the Army atmosphere (which is amazing). And the music is just great and spontaneous…fits right into the scene pulling you along with it. I found myself almost dancing with the young recruits in their bunk. Loved it. And Zinda… is one of the best songs. Damn powerful. Shankar Ehsaan Loy have cast a spell on us, yet again. In fact I noticed Loy appear in one of the sequences in Melbourne !
The dialogues now. Well, they were like the highlights of the movie. I’m afraid I can’t quote accurately but :
There is this scene where his coach tells him that not every time will the stone be large enough to get noticed and to work in his favor (when he loses a qualifying race when a stoe pierces his foot…yeah, he ran bare feet)
And then there is the Pakistan scene:
Pakistan’s Coach : ‘Milkha, yeh tumhaari zindagi ki aakhri race saabit ho sakti hai’
Milkha: ‘Yahi sochke toh mein bhaagonga’
Milkha to Biro : ‘Ek din tere Milkha ke naam pe bhi National Holiday diya jayega’
Milkha to his Coach : ‘Milkha ban gaya India’
May not be accurate but yeah, you got the essence. Farhan and Rakeysh and all the other readers forgive me if I quote wrongly, okay?
Of course reviews say its a LONG movie and NDTV gave it a 2 and a half stars…guess the reviewer or critic had had a hectic schedule all week and had plonked off during the movie or something (no offence, I’m just surprised, okay?)and some people called the movie LONG. But I liked it. More than liked it. Highly inspirational. Recommended for people pursuing big dreams.
My Grandpa felt it was the kind of movie that makes your heart feel content when you walk out of the cinemas…
And my Mum thinks its a slap on the faces of criminals, druggies, rapists, psychos etc…who blame a harsh past for their actions. Well, Milkha Singh had one of the most terrible pasts ever. But he came over it. He didn’t throw his life away. I understand he got opportunities and then there was Biro who inspired him to make a man out of himself. But such helpful and triggering moments are present in everyone’s lives and they should give it a try.
This movie has brought an amazing personality’s story to life , again, before our eyes and made it timeless, like Milkha Ji himself was quoted saying. 🙂 After the movie you feel proud to say, ‘Hail India!’