"Bhaag Milka Bhaag"- Little slow on the track but an enjoyable biopic

Originally published  in Viewspaper. Read at  “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag – A review” . Read a detailed review and analysis below 🙂

I only heard about Milkha Singh from my parents and was aware of the age old relaxing joke. I was eager to watch this “flying Sikh” on the big screen from the time I heard that a bio pic is being made. The star cast made me more happy as I saw Farhan Akhtar in it. Rakesh Omprakash Mishra’s Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is straight from the heart. Milkha Singh’s life mostly unedited is presented on the screen which captured almost all the important phases of this legend.The ups and downs, victories, disappointments and emotions are all very well portrayed. Farhan Akhtar seemed like a real athlete and his eerie resemblance to Milkha Singh made the movie more natural. Even if there are few camera tricks the way he moulded his body and presented himself are commendable!

Story line

The story opens with the 1960 Olympics where Milkha narrowly missed the medal and then makes us time travel when three gentle men start conversing about him on their way from Delhi to Chandigarh. Viewers are taken to his young days before he became a full pledged athlete and also to his child hood days . Milkha’s coach Pawan Malhotra starts narrating about him  during the train ride taking the viewers on a roller coster ride and the story takes many interesting turns. His struggle as a kid to cope up with the deaths in the family during 1947 partition are shown neatly. He becomes a vagabond post partition and finds his sister Divya Dutta finally after fleeing to India. Story keeps oscillating between present , past and his childhood days and Milkha never stops running the race called life. Milkha 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. Life becomes big for Milkha since then. 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 is shown. 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 the sports and undergoes hardcore training under the supervision of Yograj Singh who acted as Indian coach Ranveer Singh. The training episodes are brilliantly shot. His win against Pakistani athlete Abdul Khaliq gives him new wings of confidence. He is finally persuaded by Jawaharlal Nehru to attend the sports in Pakistan which are held for the betterment of relations between two countries. His final victory in the movie is loved by the audience. Pakistani coach mocks him by saying that this can be his last game. Every one hooted when Farhan aka Milkha replies “I will of course run like this is my last game.” 

Star cast and performances 

The kid Japtej Singh who acted as miniature Milkha did a splendid job too. His acting is up to the mark and he blended well with the script. At few junctures I felt he did a job better than Farhan. Divya Dutta as Milkha’s sister is so natural for the role. It’s an in and out Farhan Akhtar’s movie who not only acted but lived Milkha’s memories. Pawan Malhotra is amazing as Farhan’s coach. Prakash Raj’s brief role as “Ustaad” is quite enjoyable. The southern touch worked as Milkha’s initial professional days started at Secunderabad regiment. 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. Dalip Tahil as Nehru,  Rebecca Breeds as Stella of Australia , Dev Gill (Pakistani Athlete) , Nawab Shah (Pakistani coach) and rest all executed their job perfectly :). Cinematography by Binod Pradhan is beautiful and Music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy adds spice to the movie. Songs are soulful and lyrics are stirring. I absolutely loved Mera yaar hai rab wargha song and enjoyed rest of the songs too!

Plus points

  • Farhan Akhtar is the heart of the movie. No one else suits Milkha Singh.
  • Cinematography is brilliant and songs are feet tapping. 
  • The story set in pre-independence era shows the nuances of that period perfectly.
  • Major plus point obviously is that it is a bio pic which will increase the enthusiasm in audience.

The only minus is the  drag in the movie which can be felt at many points. There is an unnecessary scene where Farhan drinks ghee from two cans as if it is fruit juice. The scene is pretty long and could have been cut short. There are many such lengthy scenes which made the movie a 3 hr 10 min watch. Keeping this point aside its a movie worth watching if you can ignore the slow pace which is so unlike the pace of the “flying sikh!” Even if the sprint track is 3 hr 10min long I enjoyed the race with Farhan Akhtar.

A glimpse of mera yaar hai rab wargha song below:)

My rating : 3.5/5

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7 thoughts on “"Bhaag Milka Bhaag"- Little slow on the track but an enjoyable biopic

  1. That's a well written review, Afshan. This one is on my list of movies-to-watch. 🙂
    I like how you have written,”the slow pace which is so unlike the pace of the “flying sikh!” 🙂 Here we love to drag our movies to full 3 hours, even at the cost of slowing down the pace.

  2. Thanks Shail for reading and comment. Ya the slow pace of the movie made me write that line. Its so unlike the speed of Milkha na 😛 Nevertheless its a memorable watch. Don't miss it ! There r many elements which U feel r brilliant in the movie. THanks for commenting on views paper too 🙂

  3. I agree! I watched the movie and read your review and they do match with what I felt too! Some scenes could have been cut out but on the whole, well made movie! Loved the slow motion scenes 🙂 And of course, Farhan too!

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