Friday, July 12, 2013

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag



Rating : 6/10
Release Date : 12th July, 2013
Time : 188 minutes
Directors : Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra Writer : Prasoon Joshi, based on the true life of Milkha Singh; Music : Shankar, Ehsaan, Loy
Starring : Farhan Akhtar, Pawan Malhotra, Divya Dutta, Yograj Singh, Sonam Kapoor, Art Malik, Prakash Raj, Rebecca Breeds, Meesha Shafi



Milkha Singh, one of our fastest / best athletes, specializing in the 400M, is renowned as much for his hits (World Record Holder, several championships including Asian Games, Commonwealth, World Track and Field) as for his misses (most notable being Rome Olympics, where he finished outside the podium). His life, based on the film, seems to have been one filled with tragedy, haunted by the ghost of Partition, the loss of his love and several other dramatic incidents. The fact that he overcame all to become a world-class athlete is a tribute to him and a lesson to all the rest of us on what is possible, if we so want it.




Am really glad Rakeysh / Prasoon decided to do a biopic about someone as aspirational as Milkha Singh instead of the usual gangsters, encounter specialists or even soft-porn stars chosen by Hindi films so far for real-life inspiration. However, I really wish the makers had chosen fewer incidents from his life, put them together in a more cohesive manner, both in terms of narrative and timing and kept the film more focused on his sporting deeds and how he achieved them. The ending is lovely, just wish we had got there quicker and with possibly less pathos.




Farhan Akhtar is very good in the title role. It’s a slightly uneven performance, some moments not quite there (possibly due to the script?) but overall he works, and works well, whether focused, intense and deadpan or smiling at some accomplishment. Pawan Malhotra, Yograj Singh and Divya Dutta are earnest and good in their respective character roles, positive influences on Milkha’s life. It was a delight to see Art Malik in the film, has lost none of his histrionic flair (remember him as the villain in True Lies?). Sonam is thankfully just a cameo. Rebecca and Meesha Shafi also catch the eye in their small roles. The music (too many songs, some forced) / background score is good without rising to brilliant heights – also felt that there was too much of an effort to milk the tragedies, wring tears, make us feel sad / cry...




If this film proved one thing, its that the same rules apply in athletics as in cricket – everything, every lapse is forgiven as long as you beat Pakistan. My kids were completely immersed in the film (they felt its length too) and came out all flushed, happy and excited. The upbeat, winning sequences worked. Wish the focus had been on the development of Milkha as an athlete (the new tricks he acquired, learnt, the way his training regimes changed) rather than the on his past. Would love to watch this film again, but only with a remote in my hand !

7 comments:

JJ said...

In an interview Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra said that he wanted to show the story behind Milkha Singh rather than a plain biopic.
I am sure about one thing that he has made an inspiring movie...and the best part is-there is no item song. Relief!

Rahul said...

Whatever may be critiques acclaim of the movie, finally we have a story on one of the three Singhs that the nation will never forget, Bhagat Singh, Dara Singh and Milkha Singh. The nation should honour him with the Bharat Ratna, he is a dignified human being and a hero to millions for generations.

Rahul said...

Whatever may be critiques acclaim of the movie, finally we have a story on one of the three Singhs that the nation will never forget, Bhagat Singh, Dara Singh and Milkha Singh. The nation should honour him with the Bharat Ratna, he is a dignified human being and a hero to millions for generations.

Apurv Nagpal said...

hi ! JJ, I liked no item song too - but there were plenty of unnecessary songs (esp the Wula something one). Didnt like the fact that everything is shown in excruciating detail...

it is inspiring for the younger generation though - and for any sports athlete...

just wish it had been crisper

Apurv Nagpal said...

Rahul - you forgot Manmohan Singh ?





....

just kidding you...

Nitin said...

My Review of the movie:
Saw BMB yesterday..


Some good things about the movie:

1) Farhan Akhtar, Farhan Akhtar and Farhan Akhtar.. He was brilliant not just with the physical transformation but the way in which he immersed himself in the character. Apart from the few slip up in accents here and there, it was hard to figure out that this man was a urban boy.

2) The training scenes and the races: Stunning visuals and clearly the effort gone into Milkha's training is highlighted beautifully. Except for few Slo-Mo race sequences like bandages falling off and defeating the pakistani athlete, the races are shot quite earnestly.

Now for the things that didnt work for me:

1) I grew nails and a beard during the movie. It was that long.. meandering to sometimes irrelevant parts of Milkha's life (watch out for a Ghee eating scene). The movie could have been far more cohesive and well-edited.

2) Using melodrama to justify Milkhas losses in Rome and Melbourne Olympics.. (partition flashback and having fun with a chick respectively)

3) The partition scenes are stretched throughout the movie beyond a certain point, when you stop empathizing for the protagonist.

Overall, the movie disappoints trying to juggle between being a realistic biopic at times, and a melodramatic commercial movie.

2.5/5

Apurv Nagpal said...

Well put, Nitin...agree - basically needed an impartial editor, thats all...