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


  • RajeshMani

    Hi Rajesh,
    Just stumbled upon your blog. I liked the way you have touched all topics. Keep Going.

    I watched in theatre and i felt it was very good. I did not feel the movie was long at all while in theatre. I watched the same in TV channel, I felt it was too lomg.
    No mention about Farhan who was very good.


  • usha menon

    Rajesh you have given a very comprehensive review of the movie. What ever drawbacks it may have, it is very gripping. This movie has obtained several awards this year, including the best movie of the year by Filmfare.

  • Anu

    I saw the movie a few times, and I loved it. I too felt the movie a bit longer and dragging with some unnecessary scenes, but unlike other autobio movies, we need to remember the point that this is a true story of a living legend. Hence the director might not have wished to cut the scenes for the sake of making it a 3 hour movie. You know, yesterday this movie swept a lot of awards at Filmware. So, yeah, well worth the effort, and Farhan Akthar acted too well.

    • Rajesh K

      Yes, Farhan Akthar acted very well. I forgot to credit his acting, I am doing it now. Even his coaches and Prakash Raj, acted well. I would have preferred an auto-bio movie to stick to the facts, instead of creating situations just to pique the audience interest. That’s what I felt.

      Destination Infinity

  • Ashwini C N

    I was keen to watch the movie, seeing it bag all the top honours at the Filmfare. I guess the film would’ve done better even commercially had it been fast paced with a little less melodrama.

    • Rajesh K

      A sports movie, IMO, should have a fast-pace. But with Indian audiences, film makers may not be able to risk not include certain elements that add to the glitz and glitter.

      Destination Infinity

  • Avada Kedavra

    These days I have lost patience I guess. I cannot watch a bollywood movie without yawning 100 times 😀 I didnt like the trailer itself so was not that interested in watching this movie. I will catch it when it comes on TV.

    • Rajesh K

      I select the movies that I want to watch, very carefully. I guess we need to do that with Indian movies! Probably we can read reviews and then decide on whether we want to watch certain movies or not.

      Destination Infinity

  • sm

    Movie is nice. He is a great Indian sportsman. They made the movie as per Indian norms. If the movie was made as per International standards, it would have won an Oscar.

    • Rajesh K

      We don’t have to compare Indian movies with western movies or expect it to win an Oscar. It’s sufficient if they appeal to Indian audiences. This particular movie was fact combined with fiction and left us wondering what the truth actually is. That’s what I didn’t like with it.

      Destination Infinity

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