Friday, August 2, 2013

Bhag Milkha Bhag---The Story of the Flying Sikh

This review comes late, but as they say, better late than never. Happened to watch Bhag Milkha Bhag two Saturdays ago. It is very unusual of me to go to a theatre to watch a Bollywood flick, but this time around Farhan Akhtar and a biopic in the offing did the trick. And, I really wanted to catch up on a good movie after having seen English Vinglish on my own at the PVR with only a coke can as a convoy.
The movie talks of Milkha Singh, the Indian athlete, who ran away from his home post partition while bearing witness to his family being butchered (the images of a Pakistani soldier with a black cape riding on a horseback and slaughtering his family reminds the viewer of the same! Also it is repeated too many times which was one of the factors that added to the run time) and how he ends up in a refugee camp becoming a coal thief and a hooligan. To how he fights his inner demons and goes on to become a record holder.

Particularly I would not want to talk of world records since Milkha Singh never had one to his credit and neither a gold at the World championships. These being two of the many flaws that the movie has. The movie is a flashback narrated by Milkha's first coach who goes on to word every minute from his life with dainty detailing. What amused me in the first place was how could another man know so much about Milkha's life without having lived it himself! For example how did he know that Milkha's sister was a martial rape victim? How on earth he could recall every second of that fated mishap without having being there in person? That scene chiseled into my jugular vein, the moans and scary shadows pictured were a larger than life reality . How much more will Indian women suffer in the name of honor and traditions and for how long? These are tough questions, since martial rape isn't a crime in this country called India! 

Secondly how did Milkha's coach come to know of every intimate moment in his personal life, right from his affair with Biro to his late night sexual fling with the Australian coach's granddaughter and the affair that resulted out of it? These are the kind of errors that patented the movie as a typical Bollywood flick.
Also the songs were misfits without which the story could have easily been told. These also lengthened the run time of the movie and didn't contribute in any way to the narration. 


The movie is a winner in having portrayed hardwork as the only essential to acquire success. The stills where Milkha trains for long hours and squeezes his t-shirt to fill a metal bucket with his sweat is inspirational. So is the sequence where athletes threatened by Milkha's success attack him in the dark and hammer nails into his legs. And how with battered legs he goes on to create a national record. Is that really a chapter from the real life of Milkha Singh or was that fabricated to tell the story, I wonder? Also his determination to keep away from the female swimmer who tries to seduce him are scenes that motivate you to excel. For champions are not made at the snap of a finger they live through ages of toil and devotion to come into being. 
The climax could have been a little less dramatic but to portray how someone can trample the ferociousness of a fear and emerge a winner, I guess that kind of a nail biter was required. Even with all the superfluous detailing this movie was surely like a breath of fresh air in a film industry that doesn't get tired of churning out run-of-the-mill romantic dramas.

Farhan Akhtar gets into the skin of the character and deserves all the acclaim for doing his job with brilliance. 

1 comment:

Jini Fernandez said...

Lovely write-up as always. Dainty detailing as always. Your words tug at my heart-strings as always. Missed the movie - hope to watch it on TV someday.