Milkha Singh lost his family during India-Pakistan partition. The name of the movie translated as ‘Run Milkha run’ is taken from the last words spoken by Milkha’s father to save his life from the riots during partition of India. His story in the movie talks about his persistence as an athlete and also as a courageous human sp...more
Milkha Singh lost his family during India-Pakistan partition. The name of the movie translated as ‘Run Milkha run’ is taken from the last words spoken by Milkha’s father to save his life from the riots during partition of India. His story in the movie talks about his persistence as an athlete and also as a courageous human spirit. less
“Superbly directed, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is an outstanding film with an incredible performance by Farhan Akhtar. Though long, it keeps you hooked throughout. Don't miss this patriotic tribute to Milkha Singh.”
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Here it is! The best Hindi movie of the year so far.
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is a biopic on Milkha Singh - the Flying Sikh. The film chronicles his life and follows many biopic conventions. Apart from being a biopic, it is also a sports film and a period film. You could see the screenplay as problematic where it meanders from one point in his life to another but how many films combine 3 genres into a taut narrative? Prasoon Joshi faces this task and makes sure that the core is always cohesive. (It's also a musical, technically 4 genres) To me, it’s one of those movies where I don’t care how it’s written or made. It just works. Everything about it. It makes you feel each run, each obstacle, each segment in his life. It makes you cheer and applaud for the underdog. It makes your heart soar with the patriotic vigor.
Quite obviously, this is Farhan Akhtar’s finest hour. You can see the effort in each scene. While we have actors like Ranbir Kapoor who sleepwalk through any role with ease and blow our minds doing so. We will always need actors who put in passion into their work so much so that it shows. Something that was last seen in Hrithik Roshan’s performances. When done right, it is compelling to watch. Akhtar embodies Milkha to the point where you feel this Sardarji has been a Punjabi all his life. During this entire acting tour-de-force, he also does a shimmy. Maikya chha gaye tussi, Akhtar saab.
The supporting performances form the heart of the film. Divya Dutta plays the sister and Pavan Malhotra plays the coach. Every time they address him as “Milkhu, Milkhe or Milkhya”, it just feels right. Sonam Kapoor doesn’t ham and keeps it simple. But there’s one casting choice that just baffles me - Dalip Tahil as Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. You can’t ever take that seriously, can you? But when a film makes you do just that, you know you’re watching damn good one.
The Punjabi spoken in the film is also note-worthy. After witnessing Vidya Balan’s ghastly accent and horrible mess of a performance in Ghanchakkar, this was definitely a welcome watch. The theth Punjabi never overshadows the Hindi common parlance to alienate the audience. The Punjab shown here isn’t the Punjab we’ve seen in movies before, especially not the Yash Raj kind. The specifics make this film more Indian instead of restricting it to a certain section of our secular society.
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy crown the film with songs that are inspiring and heart-wrenching. The title track and Zinda will be huge hits with the youth. Arif Lohar and Daler Mehndi scream-singing on the soundtrack aches out each yell that Milkha lets out on the running track. My personal favorite is Mera Yaar, a ballad that is so much more than a love song.
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra wowed the nation with Rang De Basanti (2006). While I wasn’t a big fan of the political stance of the film and neither do I think the jingoism in this one will be my favorite thing about the film, it ends on a better note than how RDB ended. The anti-Pakistan sentiment will always be seeped into our country’s consciousness. My grandparents who migrated from Pakistan don’t have fond memories of the partition. I could hardly imagine what it would feel like to live through it but the stories can send shivers down any human spine. It captures those moments of our history that we must never forget and gives a solemn catharsis in the end. Bravo, Mr. Mehra.
The film clocks in at above 3 hours but I wouldn’t cut out a single minute of it. You don’t need patience to watch it, you just need a bit of spirit. As far as the structural issues are concerned, I just looked back at my life and didn't find any coherence in it. Then I listed a few great biopics in my head and they all had an irregular struture with long, free-flowing scenes. Probably that's why it's called life. I’m sure it would be clichéd to end this review by requesting you to run to theater. But what the hell! Just run to that theater and watch the story of one of the greatest Indians fly its way across the screen!