Rakeysh Onprakash Mehra had me conquered with Rang de Basanti and I had been awaiting a new tale that would feature his unique directorial punch. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, a patriotic and epic account of runner Milkha Singh's life, features spot on performances by the cast and a wonderful and highly involved lead performance by actor/director Farhan Akhtar, who trains, sweats, bhangras and romances with all his heart. Prasoon Joshi’s script tell's Milkha Singh’s story through a long series of flashbacks that make the full story materialize at the end of the film.
It all starts with a 12 year old Milkha Singh living the horrors of the 1947 India-Pakistan partition and losing his family to these harrowing events. When Milkha's father yells and urges him to run in order to escape the approaching violent riots in his Sikh village, little would the youngster know that running was to become his life's religion.
The film uses Bollywood tactics to endear the audiences to Milkha, and though some segments may seem long, Australian people in the film may (characteristically) seem stereotyped and Milkha's charming and mythical love life may unfold amidst love songs and colourful sequences... Mehra's directorial skills and the actors' honest performances make up for these slight let-downs. Other huge pluses in the film are the sterling quality sound design and the movie's soundtrack, which reaches its peak with the powerful and engaging main song: "Zinda".
There are many reasons for which the way this biopic is told can be inspiring but while most critics point to Milkha Singh's tireless training and physical effort, I was much more sensitive to how Singh's journey eventually leads him to seek peace within himself and how he soothes his inner child, facing the memories of when he fled the terror of Partition.
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BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG
Director : Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Producer : Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Rajeev Tandon & P S Bharathi
Cast : Farhan Akhtar, Divya Dutta, Sonam Kapoor, Rebecca Breeds, Pavan Malhotra, Meesha Shafi, Prakash Raj, Yograj Singh, Jabtej Singh
Music : Shankar, Ehsaan & Loy
Screenplay and Song Lyrics : Prasoon Joshi