Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (The Rang De Basanti director is back. The one who directed Aks and Delhi-6 has moved past. Take a bow, Sir!)
Producer: Viacom 18, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (They put in the money, now it’s pouring back into their accounts.)
Writer: Prasoon Joshi (Lyrics, genius. Story, legend. Somethings added for no reason, Yes. We can ignore it though! Take a bow!)
Music Direction: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy (always liked their music and this time, they reached an all new level! Join the rest in taking the bow!)
Distributor: Reliance Entertainment (yes, profit, money and these guys have to be there. Do not take a bow though!)
Farhan Akhtar as Milkha Singh (or is it the other way round? Throughout the movie, it’s Milkha that you see. March into all award functions, take the best actor award and Go! Seriously, no one will dare stop you.)
Sonam Kapoor as Biro (Take a few scenes from ‘Masakalli’, delete Delhi and AB Baby, add Farhan and some new backdrops, Voila! That’s exactly what Rakeysh must have done.)
Divya Dutta as Isri Kaur, Milkha Singh’s elder sister (she cries more than any character in a saas-bahu serial. However, she justifies the weeping and plays one of the finest roles in her career. Take a bow!)
Dev Gill as Abdul Khaliq (he plays the Paki who gives Farhan’s body and running some competition.)
Master Jabtej Singh as young Milkha (he has acted excellently. Plays the young Milkha with conviction.)
Meesha Shafi as Perizaad (OMG! She’s hot! Kills Sonam, totally.)
Yograj Singh as Indian Coach Ranveer Singh (gives Farhan a run for his money in the acting department. Seriously, wonderful acting.)
Nawab Shah as Pakistani Coach Javed (fits the role and whatever few dialogues he has, he delivers them to perfection.)
Art Malik as Milkha Singh’s father (embodies the true values of a Sikh! He deserves the title Singh is King, not Akshay-why-you-laugh-so-histerically-Kumar)
Prakash Raj as Cadet Training Officer (A gem of an actor. You hate him and then you love him! His eyes can act better than many of our elite stars! Hope he wins the best actor in a supporting role this year.)
Pawan Malhotra as Milkha Singh’s Coach Gurudev Singh (The most talented of actors. He finally gets his worth. He and Prakash Raj should be a tie for the supporting role award. Even the facial hair compliments his emotions. I can write an essay on praises for him.)
Rebecca Breeds as Stella (gives Sonam some competition in the why-was-I-even-in-this-movie department.)
Dalip Tahil as Jawaharlal Nehru (the sight of him as Nehru makes everyone laugh. However, he plays the role with conviction. He may not look the part but within a few shots, he embodies Nehru!)
Before I jump to the verdict, I would like to take some time to do a Shastanga Namaskar (a Punekar’s way of giving the highest of respect) to some members of the cast. If you’re a budding actor, I would say, this movie should be your teacher. Pawan Malhotra and Prakash Raj can start an institution by themselves, for their role in this movie embodies everything that acting truly is about. Take a photo of these guys and worship them. I may be the only one mesmerised by these two guys, while the world will be talking about Farhan and his body. But somehow these two actors take away the cake; even with the not-so-long roles they have. Special mentions are Dalip Tahil, Divya Dutta, Art Malik, Nawab Shah and Yograj Singh. If Vidya is touted as the best actress of India, I would pit Divya against her. Divya would decimate any opposition in the acting department (unfortunately, in India, acting is more about looks!)
Coming to Farhan Akhtar, I doubt whether he was himself throughout the making of the movie. From his perfectly Sikh hair to his amazingly sculpted body, he embodies Milkha Singh with gusto. From the fiery look in his eyes, the protruding veins seen during his stance to his running technique, one feels it’s actually Milkha playing the role. He surely deserves all the accolades and awards this year and can join the ‘League of Extraordinary Actors’ like Naseeruddin Shah, Amitabh Bachchan, Kamal Hassan and more.
If I talk about Sonam Kapoor, the lines talking about her would be more than the dialogues she had in the movie. The film, which is a long 3 hours, could have been edited better, had she been completely eliminated. She has 8 dialogues and 2 songs (yes, I counted!). Milkha Singh set an Olympic World record with 45.8 seconds in 400m race, Usain Bolt set it with 9.58 seconds in 100m. Sonam comes and goes faster than those guys! Meesha Shafi as the jalpari Perizaad had a meatier role, and she looks every bit a beauty that an Olympic swimmer would.
The winner here is not just the excellent acting by the actors. Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra maybe one of the finest directors ever, whose work is perfectly showcased here. The direction is perfect – from scenes where you can see the dust rising in the air after Milkha’s foot leaves the ground while running to the glimpse of the tracks in his eyes when he takes the stance. Even a scene that could have become gory (one where Milkha watches his father’s head being cut), is edited and filmed perfectly, getting across the emotions that Milkha must have felt while witnessing it. The direction is matched by the amazing soundtrack, most amazing being the title track Bhaag Milkha and Gurbani. Daler Mehendi’s soul-stirring voice makes you weep and his high pitch singing adds to your emotions. Arif Lohar is another legend. His pitch goes so high, it could be audible to even the beings in heaven!
Everything about the movie is perfect. Sonam, some dance sequences, the Australian fling are NOT. However, thanks to the incredible work of its true stars, there is never a dull moment. The movie keeps you hooked from start to finish. Although your bum might start to pain by the end, your mind is not at all bored. Remember to give your legs a stretch during the interval and get something to eat (I idiotically stayed seated. Needless to say, I was uneasy not just because of my bum but also by the smell of food across the theatre that added to it).
Milkha Singh is a true hero. Not only did he bring India fame and glory in the Olympics (while our Olympic Association is doing quite the opposite), he embodies the spirit of our soldiers, India’s true superheroes. He also sold the rights to produce the movie for Rs. 1 but inserted a clause stating that a share of the profits would be given to the Milkha Singh Charitable Trust. The Trust was founded in 2003 with the aim of assisting poor and needy sportspeople. A thousand salutes to the man!
After watching Dark Knight Rises, you might have felt the adrenaline rush while driving back home. This movie gives you the same rush and makes even the laziest of creatures want to start running. If it could motivate me to start running, it can motivate anyone! (It’s been a day since I watched, I haven’t run a millimeter. However, the thought to start running lingers in my mind, something that never crossed my mind for a decade.) Milkha soared years ago on the track, earning himself the title Flying Sikh. This movie, is soaring now and can definitely earn the title of being the ‘Finest Indian movie ever made’. Once again, take a bow, gentlemen!
Featured Image Credits: http://www.santabanta.com,