There are some movies that manage to have a lasting impact on the viewers minds, while there are few whose impact lasts for as long as the duration of the film. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag belongs to later. Coming from a marvel like Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, who helmed acclaimed movies like Rang De Basanti and Delhi 6, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag turns out to be rather disappointing and edgy. The movie is a 3 hours 7 minutes long strenuous biopic of the legend, a former Indian sprinter, Milkha Singh. It speaks about his struggles, triumph and trounce all through his life as an ace sprinter.
The movie features the versatile, Farhan Akhtar and bollywood’s glam doll, Sonam Kapoor. Milkha’s is an incredible rag to riches story. The athlete was a small boy when he lost his family, in the 1947 partition, apart from his sister, Isri Kaur, played by Divya Dutta. His innate flair is discovered when is joins the Indian army. After running in an indoor running competition for a glass of milk, Milkha goes on to run in various international level competitions and come out victorious. After his uninterrupted wins, the sprinter is appointed to lead a tournament between Indian and Pakistan. He however disagrees to be a part of it and travel to Pakistan. Why would Milkha Singh not run in Pakistan?
1960 India witnessed a number of inspiring figures, one of them being sprinter Milkha Singh. He was a legend, was respected by big shots and had an unmatchable aura. Atleast this is what the films conveys. From the moment the film starts and till the time its ends, Rakeysh doesn’t give his audiences any liberty of perception. The viewers are forced to believe what the director conveys. Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s execution is not in control, which even makes the characters look unnecessary.
Farhan Akhtar is sure an actor who knows how to lure his fans with his sheer dedication and performance. The actor must have worked day-in day-out to achieve a physique that is so overwhelming that every time he walks on screens, the audiences go into raptures over him. Other actors who gave fabulous performances are Pavan Malhotra, who plays Milkha’s mentor and Rebecca Breeds, Milkha’s Australian fling. Divya Dutta is convincing in her character, but is excessively weepy. Sonam Kapoor on the other hand rarely has a dialogue. She however looks beautiful in her girl next door avatar.
The first half of the film is way too sluggish and futile with some extremely conventional turns and redundant sentiments. By the second half the story gets somewhat motivating and eventually focuses on the character’s professional journey. The director has apparently taken two and half years to write the story and that is somewhat the duration that the movie goes on for. The film is so long that the audiences lose interest half way through it.
The one thing that helps the film is the way in which the stadium sequences are executed. This is when you feel like you are sitting in the stadium and seeing a live race. One can actually hear the audiences in the theatre cheering for Farhan to win.
Even though the music album is engaging and endearing, there are way too many songs which are completely astray in a film of this nature. Shankar Ehsaan Loy’s background score is somewhere apt, while somewhere just makes to want to a get a small nap. Cinematography by Binod Pradhan is superior and the editing by P S Bharathi is intelligent. Scenarist Prasoon Joshi has done a decent job with the writing.
Lastly, for a legend like Milkha Singh, who belongs to a list of prodigies who managed to bring India in the worldwide sports scenario, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag wasn’t even close to a biopic he deserved. However if there was one man in the world who could portray the athlete’s character aptly, he has to be Akhtar.