Bhaag Milkha Bhaag: Review, There NO spoilers, neither here, nor in the movie!
Australian chick with an accent: You must have had a hard day, are you now relaxing?
Our desi hero: No no, I am Milkha Singh !!!
Farhan Akhtar is the new Mr. Perfectionalist. Aamir, time for you to go behind the camera. This one movie has made me his deewana. A piece of history can never be created perfectly. Even Forrest Gump wasn’t. But this is as close as it can come. Brilliant, dude, brilliant acting. And yeah, this is a sure-shot National Award nominee movie. ROM has recreated magic. Though not with a Harry Potter spell, instantly, but slowly, steadily, over 180 minutes.
The story of India’s most famous athlete for years, whose positive aspects & climax are known to all but the steps leading to such a pinnacle are not. One, that of controlled emotions, lost love and twisted fate. The story of one of India’s most resilient athletes, who showed that the mind commands the body even when the body is ‘dead’, one who was adored and hated both, one, who has inspired millions others and continues to do so. Inspite of never winning an Olympic medal. Ever.
The biography of Milkha Singh in reel.
Either the carrot has to be delicious enough or else the stick has to be fearful enough. Only then things move, run, win. The desire to succeed, to achieve, to attain, to overcome pain is the strongest blackhole in the Universe. When you are rejected, the itch to get back in the game is the strongest. A certain Roger Bannister would have felt proud: being rejected as too thin for rowing, he went on to become the first person to run the mile under 4 minutes, decades ago !
Pain, when nourished and cultivated, grows. No, doesn’t grow, it amplifies. Just like the gigantic oak tree comes from a tiny, tiny seed. The Chaos Theory. Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil set off a Tornado in Texas? The Butterfly Effect. Yes, pain has that power. Hurt has that power. Anger has that power. The memory of pain makes one achieve the impossible. Pushes one to the limit where it was unreachable earlier. Defying logic, it creates new records. Pain pushes you to attain the glory which was only dreamt of. For this very reason, it is necessary to remember pain. Beautifully exemplified none other than here.
Set in flashback style with a non-liner narration like Nolan’s, the movie explains in bits & pieces the life and journey of a kid, barely 12 years old, from the peace he is at his home in Multan (then a part of India, yes, you heard this city’s name thanks to Inzamam-ul-Haq, he is from there) to the turmoil he undergoes losing his family during the post-partition riots, through the journey of his life and love-life to the point where he finally makes peace with himself.
From Pakistan to India, from a troubled childhood to a bad company, from a life of petty crimes to be in love, to promise to change for the girl and to return to see love lost, to romance an Australian chick while high to getting back to senses, to reignite the fire to compete and win which was trapped inside ashes to a erupting volcano: the movie showcases everything, slowly, steadily.
The lyrics told a story themselves. To the point, bang on target, complimenting the scenes perfectly. Only when I saw Prasoon Joshi in the credits, I felt yeah: this was so very obvious!
Farhan Akhtar is the new GOD. The way he has majestically played this role would move you to tears. Would make you stand up and cheer for him. To clap and whistle. The childlike enthusiasm he shows to compete and participate. The way he motivates himself for some absolutely normal reasons. His passion is as infectious as cold in winters!!! And no, I am not praising his straight-out-of-Snyder’s-300-wala-6-packs-gals-drooling-over-look but his portrayal of emotions, passion, pain, exuberance, hurt, failure and victory as clearly as if he was following the acting rule-book, page by page, word by word. Sonam is a pretty, sweet, coochie-poo who really reminded me of somebody I knew 😛 but without a major role. Prakash Raj is funny with his grammatically incorrect and hilarious Hindi. And yeah, getting equal credit is the young Jabtej Singh, who plays the 12-something Milkha. This kid’s got talent. Enormous. Worth putting your hands together for him.
MUST SEE MOMENTS: The training scenes in the second half are cult-classic types, especially by HiFi standard. Its reminiscent of the Rocky era, though its a vague comparison. The repentance upon getting distracted and the penance thereafter doesn’t have the vengeance of Chak De’s Kabir Khan but is worthwhile in itself. The humor moments are out-of-the-blue and are, for a change, genuinely funny. The race where he runs barefoot competing with runners with imported shoes and the one he does in bandages are enough for some adrenaline to start rushing. The portrayal of his passion to compete and win, to represent India, most importantly, the never-ending-never-give-up attitude, is highly commendable.
NOT SO GOOD MOMENTS: Though a well-created bygone-era ambience in which one is witness to all the important events of his life, step-by-step, one by one is wow, it is to the height of sometimes appearing stagnant and you wonder if the editing was done at all! The movie doesn’t have the tempo and charm throughout. It is created only at times. And then it disappears. Much like KLPD. Its neither a Dabangg nor a Lootera. And unfortunately doesn’t have the background score strong enough to keep you enthusiastically glued to the story either. The slow pace of the movie may seem dragging itself and a couple of brilliant scenes miss reaching orgasm though the build-up is there! Overlooking has also happened factually as in the number plate of a military car of year 2008 when it is based in the early ‘60s.
ESSENCE: We all want to forget our bad experiences. Ghastly past, if any. Sometimes, life doesn’t allow you to forget. So you run from them. Far away from them. You run, run, run, mentally first, and then physically. You are so keen to run away from them that you take fuel from the pain itself and sprint like a thunderbolt away from pain. Milkha similarly ran. He ran for years together. Ran from his pain. Ran so fast, time and again, that he found pleasure in it. And finally found peace healing his wounds, having come face-to-face with it. He ran, ran and ran. Till he flew. And thus became The Flying Sikh. Honoured exactly by the one who made him ran all throughout life.
4 stars for the almost perfect biography replicated. Songs. And Farhan, Farhan, Farhan. Bear a little patience and watch it for him. You too would be added to his fan-club post the movie!
Dedicated to Pran. R.I.P.