Bhaag Milkha Bhaag review: A dramatic run to glory

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag review: A dramatic run to glory

Hindi (U) ***
Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra  
Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Art Malik, Pawan Malhotra, Divya Dutta, Sonam Kapoor

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is really about the triumph of the human spirit. In setting out to recreate the legend of Milkha Singh, what Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra manages is to breathe life into the portrait of a man who has remained humble, noble and grounded in spite of his phenomenal, superhuman achievements.

This is the story of a man who never forgot his roots, his painful background and a traumatic childhood that was witness to his father’s beheading and the butchering of his mother and siblings; a child of 12 who escaped alone on a train bound for India during Partition; a teenager who made his living stealing and selling coal from steam engines, who later joined the Army to make a respectable living and finally found his calling in running. A man who never forgot his father’s last words, Bhaag Milkha… urging him to save his own life.

Here was one who punished himself hard when he missed the qualifiers at the Olympics because of a night spent partying. A man who emerged triumphant against all odds to secure his place under the sun through sheer hard work, will power and determination — a credo he still lives by.

Farhan Akhtar as Milkha makes you forget that he is but attempting to relive the life of the Flying Sikh. He becomes Milkha and therein lies his achievement. Despite the inordinate length (at three-and-a-half hours), liberally interspersed with songs, Farhan’s passion for this role stands supremely unchallenged.

He is very ably supported by Divya Dutta (they honestly don’t make them like her anymore) as his elder sister, who too survived Partition. The relationship that the duo shares is one of immeasurable respect and mutual affection and Mehra captures the same rather tenderly. Pawan Malhotra’s performance as Milkha’s first coach Gurdev Singh, like Farhan, is bound to fetch him not just accolades but awards too. And well deserved they will be.

Binod Pradhan’s cinematography and Nakul Kamte’s sound design are a must mention, for without them Bhaag… would not be the powerhouse that it is. Prasoon Joshi’s screenplay could have been shortened but when you’re narrating a tale this tall, a taut plot is tough to confine to. Must watch anyway.

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