Movie Reviews

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (’13) Bollywood Movie Review

‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ is a Bollywood/Hindi movie directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and starring Farhan Akthar. This movie claims to have been ‘inspired’ by real life – the life of Milkha Singh, the champion athlete from India who broke the world record for 400m running-race, back in the 50s.

This is a good movie, but the length/pace of the movie and all that (unwanted) melodrama for a movie of this genre almost killed it. Strangely, songs were in place and even complimented the scenes!

If you didn’t know Milkha Singh, he was the Indian athlete who lost the Olympic Gold Medal for 400m dash in 1960 by a whisker. You know why? He was almost near the finish line (ahead of everyone else) but turned back at the final moments before crossing the line. Three athletes overtook him by that time and he finished fourth!

I knew this story before but the justification provided by this movie is, well, not so believable. Maybe it is true – he did undergo a lot of trauma during partition and almost lost his entire family – but did someone actually shout ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ at that moment and did he turn back because of that reason? I don’t think so. But I was not there, hence can’t conclude anything.

The movie is well made, but was too long for my taste. Also, a sports movie should move quickly – this one drags on and on and on. If this movie had just taken up half the time, it would have been a classic. Like ‘Chak De India’, which was a great sports movie in spite of the drama.

I don’t have a problem with emotions/melodrama if they compliment the script. But in this movie, those elements are enhanced and at certain places, inserted, to create effect. Another minus point.

Irrespective of the movie, we should definitely appreciate the man – Milkha Singh is perhaps the only noticeable male athlete India has ever produced after Independence. Heck, he broke the world record for 400 meters dash during 1958. All this happened in spite of his childhood trauma, poverty and suffering. Kudos to you, man!

You can watch this movie once, but beware – it will feel long. I wish Indian movies value realism as much as melodrama and hype. But that doesn’t take away much credit from the movie, the man and the music. Good effort.

Destination Infinity

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