Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

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Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byRakeysh Omprakash Mehra[1][2]
Produced byViacom 18
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Written byPrasoon Joshi[3]
StarringFarhan Akhtar
Sonam Kapoor
Meesha Shafi
Dev Gill
Music byShankar-Ehsaan-Loy
StudioViacom 18 Motion Pictures
Distributed byReliance Entertainment
Release date(s)
  • 12 July 2013 (2013-07-12)
Running time189 minutes[4]
CountryIndia
LanguageHindi
BudgetINR30 crore (US$4.8 million)[5]
Box officeINR104 crore (US$17 million)
(24 days domestic nett.)[6]
 
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Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byRakeysh Omprakash Mehra[1][2]
Produced byViacom 18
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Written byPrasoon Joshi[3]
StarringFarhan Akhtar
Sonam Kapoor
Meesha Shafi
Dev Gill
Music byShankar-Ehsaan-Loy
StudioViacom 18 Motion Pictures
Distributed byReliance Entertainment
Release date(s)
  • 12 July 2013 (2013-07-12)
Running time189 minutes[4]
CountryIndia
LanguageHindi
BudgetINR30 crore (US$4.8 million)[5]
Box officeINR104 crore (US$17 million)
(24 days domestic nett.)[6]

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (English: Run Milkha Run) is a 2013 Indian biographical sports film based on the life of "The Flying Sikh" Milkha Singh, an Indian athlete who was a national champion runner and an Olympian.

The film has been produced and directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra on a script written by Prasoon Joshi, with sports action by Rob Miller of ReelSports. The film stars Farhan Akhtar, Sonam Kapoor, Divya Dutta, Pavan Malhotra, Meesha Shafi and Yograj Singh.

Released in mid-2013, the film gathered a highly positive response from critics, and performed exceptionally well at the box office, eventually being declared a super hit domestically and hit overseas.[7][8][9][10] Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is currently The Third highest grossing Bollywood film of 2013 in India.[11][12] Bhaag Milkha Bhaag became the 21st film to enter the coveted Bollywood 100 Crore Club.[13][14][15]

Plot[edit source | edit]

The film starts in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, where a coach says "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag!", and the story is taken back to the memories of the childhood days of a young boy which haunted him, resulted in him dropping to fourth. Partition of India in 1947 caused chaos which resulted in mass religious violence in Punjab in British India, killing the parents of Milkha Singh (Farhan Akhtar). He reaches Delhi and later meets his sister there. Living in impoverished refugee camps, Milkha soon makes friends and survives by stealing with his friends. He falls in love with Biro (Sonam Kapoor) but she asks him to live a life of honesty. Milkha finally finds himself in the army where he gets noticed by a Havaldar (Sergeant) after he wins a race in which top 10 runners will get milk, two eggs and excused from exercise. He gets selected for service commission where he gets miffed and also gets beaten up by senior players whom he had defeated earlier, on the day before selection of Indian team for Olympics. In spite of being injured he still participates in the race, overcoming his pain he wins the race thus breaking the national record.

During the Melbourne 1956 Olympics he gets attracted to the granddaughter of his Australian technical coach, and after a frolicking night in a bar he has a one-night stand with her. The following day he feels exhausted from the previous night's activities and loses the final race. He realizes his mistake. Suffering from guilt he even slaps himself in front of a mirror. On the way back to India in a flight he asks his coach to tell him what the world record for the 400m race is and the coach informing him it to be 45.90 seconds. He trains hard with a firm determination and wins in several places. He then breaks the world record for the 400m race with the dashing speed of 45.80 seconds. Then Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India at that time convinces him to lead the Indian team in Pakistan for a friendly race. In Pakistan he misses the press conference and goes to his village where in a flashback it is shown how his parents were murdered and the last words of his father were "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag!" He starts crying and is comforted by a boy who turns out to be his childhood friend's son. In the games, initially the Pakistani favourite is winning, but Milkha takes the lead eventually overtaking opponents one by one, taking a convincing lead and winning both the race and respect of the two nation's people. The Pakistani commander impressed by his effort gives him the title "The Flying Sikh". Jawaharlal Nehru also declares a day in the name of Milkha as "Bharat Bandh" as desired by Milkha himself.

Cast[edit source | edit]

Soundtrack[edit source | edit]

The music and the background score for the film were composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, their first film collaboration with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. The soundtrack features seven tracks with lyrics written by Prasoon Joshi. The audio was released by Sony Music on 14 June 2013, on digital platforms including iTunes and Amazon.

Production[edit source | edit]

Development[edit source | edit]

After the release of Delhi-6 (2009), director Om Prakash Mehra started developing two projects, a historical love story, Mirza Sahiban, and a biopic of Milkha Singh. However subsequently the biopic developed better, and he chose the latter. Prasoon Joshi, who co-wrote Delhi-6 with Mehra, also started working on the script.[16] Joshi later clarified that the film's title, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (Run Milkha Run) was never actually spoken by Milkha's father, rather, it was phrase coined by him, and has been used liberally throughout the narrative.[17]

"This film is not a mirror of Milkha Singh's life. It is an interpretation of his life."

-- Prasoon Joshi (screenwriter)[17]

Growing up in Delhi, Mehra was familiar with anecdotes from the life of Milkha Singh, the ace runner popular as "Flying Sikh". He used to visit the National Stadium, Delhi for swimming, where Singh also came for his practice. Gradually, he came to know details regarding his early life, including how he witnessed his entire family being killed during the partition, and travelled alone to Delhi as a refugee. Mehra started developing the project as personal story rather than a sports film, around the theme of "zindagi se bhago nahin, zindagi ke saath bhago", "Don't run away from life, run with life", depicting his life from 13 to 28 years. For research, he visited Chandigarh several times, where he talked for several hours with Singh. Jeev Milkha Singh, the son of Milkha Singh and a notable golfer, arranged his meetings with the family members.[16] Milkha Singh refused a large offer for allowing his story to be made into a film, and charged a token amount of INR1 (1.6¢ US), as he believed if the film could "inspire our young people and result in India's first Olympic track gold, that would [be] reward enough for him." [18]

It took the next two and half years to write the story of the film.[19] According to the director, it is not a sports film, but a film about human spirit.[20] It is about a story of a boy who lost his parents at the age of 12.

Casting[edit source | edit]

In 2010, early contenders of the lead role were Abhishek Bachchan and Akshay Kumar. While Bachchan was preferred by Mehra, the later was preferred by Milkha Singh himself. However, Mehra deferred the final decision on the cast till the final script was completed.[21] However, after months of search,[19] in September 2011, the principal cast of the film were announced, and actor-director Farhan Akhtar and Sonam Kapoor bagged the lead roles. Thereafter, Akhtar even visited Punjab to meet Milka Singh and his family.[22] Before deciding, Akhtar met Mehra once for a story session, and immediately agreed to play the role.[23] He was inspired Milkha Singh's life, and later underwent extensive physical training for the role.[20]

Pakistani actress and singer, Meesha Shafi who got fame after her song Alif Allah (Jugni) and recently made her Hollywood debut with The Reluctant Fundamentalist was selected for the role of Perizaad (Milkha Singh's best friend).

Filming[edit source | edit]

The principal photography of the film commenced in February 2012 and mainly took place in Punjab, India, with some scenes shot in Delhi, Tokyo, Melbourne and Rome.[24][25][26][27]

International company ReelSports coordinated the sports action for the film and cast all the elite runners.

Marketing[edit source | edit]

Farhan Akhtar and director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra launched the movie's official mobile game at the Reliance Digital electronics store in Times Square on 3 August 2013.[28]

Release[edit source | edit]

The film released on 12 July 2013. The film released in 140 cinemas in USA.[29] Maharashtra government and Madhya pradesh government granted Entertainment tax exemption to Bhaag Milkha Bhaag on 20 July 2013.[9][30][31][32][33] On 24 July 2013, the Delhi government also announced tax exemption for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.[34][35][36] On 25 July 2013, Goa government gave tax-free status to the film for three months.[37][38] On 29 July 2013, Haryana government also made the film tax-free in the state.[39][40][41] On 1 August 2013,Uttar Pradesh government approved a proposal to exempt Bhaag Milkha Bhaag from entertainment tax in two installments or for a maximum period of two months.[42]

Critical response[edit source | edit]

India[edit source | edit]

The film received mostly positive reviews from critics.[43]

Subhash K Jha of IANS gave the film 5 out of 5 stars and stated, "The movie seems like a near-flawless homage to the flying spirit of India's greatest runner, it is partly because the story, so nimbly woven into a pastiche of drama, emotion, humor and pathos by Prasoon Joshi and Farhan who occupies Milkha's mind, body and soul."[44] Bollywood Hungama's Taran Adarsh predicted that it would "win accolades, admiration, respect and esteem, besides emerging as a champ",[45] while Sneha May Francis of Emirates 24/7 gave the film a thumbs up, saying that the film is "truly epic", and that "despite the prestigious Olympic glory eluding him, Mehra deservedly honors the runner’s other victories and impeccable talent, allowing us to applaud the prodigy."[46] Desimartini, with almost 5000 ratings by the end of the weekend stated the following about the film: "Superbly directed, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is an outstanding film with an incredible performance by Farhan Akhtar. Though long, it keeps you hooked throughout. Don't miss this patriotic tribute to Milkha Singh." It gained a 3.9 star rating after its release.[47]

Madhureeta Mukherjee of The Times of India stated, "While you are on-the-run, pause to watch this one."[48] The India Today review concluded, "Go and run with Milkha. In this fast-paced life, this race will definitely soothe your senses."[49] Sify's Vijay Sinha praised the film, judging "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag should get even drug-addled Punjab flocking to the cinemas."[50] Gayatri Sankar of Zee News wrote, "If you are a patriotic Indian, you will be left teary eyed and your head held high."[51] Yahoo! Movies' review summed up, "Mehra has helmed 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' into a compelling story and an exemplar of cinematic brilliance; that it is also an inspiring tale almost seems to be a by-product."[52]

Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times described the film as "a stirring bio of Milkha Singh",[53] while Nicolas Rapold of The New York Times said that, "the movie strikes its chosen couple of notes resoundingly, making clear what makes Singh run."[54] Twitch Film's review said, "[..]in the grand scheme of things. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is easily one of the best mainstream films to come out of Bollywood this year."[55] Scott Foundas of Variety described the film as "rousing and handsomely crafted biopic".[56] Lisa Tsering of The Hollywood Reporter opined that the biopic "requires viewer endurance, but pays off with an exhilarating climax."[57] Digital Spy praised the film and said, "It is a blessing that this film was made and the inspiring story of India's greatest sporting hero told to a generation who might otherwise never have known the legend of 'The Flying Sikh.'"[58]

Actor Shahrukh Khan called the film "a lovely experience" and described the performance of Akhtar as "inspirational".[59] Hrithik Roshan also praised his performance, and deemed the film to be "phenomenal".[60] Veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan highly praised the film on his blog, describing it as "too emotionally and creatively moving to put anything down in words".[61]

Aseem Chhabra of Rediff.com gave the film a mixed review and reasoned that film does not offer anything new. However, he praised Akhtar's performance, writing "If there is one reason to see BMB it is to watch Akhtar – how much he has evolved as an actor and the sincerity with which he immerses himself in the character."[62] NDTV echoed the same sentiment, "Bhaag Milkha Singh is a 400 meters sprint that feels like a cross-country race."[63] Despite praising the technical aspects and music of the film, Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN criticized the film for its length: "The film itself is well intentioned and shines a light on an important figure. The film is an ambitious account of the first 27 years or so of celebrated Indian sprinter Milkha Singh's roller-coaster life. But it's too long and too unfocused to leave a lasting impression."[64][65]

Singh and his daughter, Sonia Sanwalka, co-wrote his autobiography, titled The Race of My Life.[66] The book inspired Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, a 2013 biographical film of Singh's life.[67][68][69] Singh sold the movie rights for one rupee but inserted a clause stating that a share of the profits would be given to the Milkha Singh Charitable Trust.[70] The Trust was founded in 2003 with the aim of assisting poor and needy sportspeople.[71]

International[edit source | edit]

Los Angeles Times stated that there's enough dramatic restraint and performance charm to give Singh his due as a justifiably glorified figure in India's independence.[72]

Washington Post stated that The Bollywood import dramatizes the life of famed Indian sprinter Milkha Singh.[73]

The Hollywood Reporter says that The three-hour sports biopic about India’s most famous runner requires viewer endurance, but pays off with an exhilarating climax.[74]

Box office[edit source | edit]

India[edit source | edit]

The film opened exceptionally well at multiplexes across India and rocked the theaters all over, especially in Punjab and Delhi.[75][76] It earned approximately 8.50 crores on its first day. The film showed a 21-percent growth and earned 10.52 crores on the second day of its box office run.[77][78] Bhaag Milka Bhaag grossed approximately 34.35 crore nett over its first weekend,[79][80] and earned a total of 5.50 crore nett on Monday. Its four-day gross amounted to 37.50 crore nett.[81][82] Bhaag Milkha Bhaag ended its first week with a total collection of approximately 53.49 crore nett.[83][83] It collected around 3.50 crore nett on its 8th day.[84] It collected 5.25-5.50 crore nett on its second Saturday.[30] The ten-day domestic business of the film is Rs 69.50 crore nett approx.[9][85] The film grossed around Rs 27.98 crores nett in its second week taking its total collections to Rs 81 crores.[85][86][87][88] Bhaag Milkha Bhaag collected around 1.75 crore nett on the opening day of its third week.[89] Bhaag Milkha Bhaag has grossed over Rs 90 crore nett in 17 days as it grossed around Rs 9-9.50 crore nett in its third weekend.[12][90] the film collected Rs 1.50 crore nett on its third Monday.[91] The film added 15 crore nett approx in its third week to take its nett gross to Rs 96.35 crore.[92][93][94] The film nett. grossed around Rs 1 crore nett on its fourth Friday.[95] Bhaag Milkha Bhaag grossed Rs 102 crore nett in 24 days as it added around Rs 5 crore nett in its fourth weekend.[6]

Overseas[edit source | edit]

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag grossed around $1.4 million over its first weekend.[96] The film grossed US$647,112 in its first week of release in the United States, and debuted at the 15th spot at the box office.[97] Bhaag Milkha Bhaag has done well in Overseas with collections of around $2.7 million. The film has done well in US.[98] The film has done overseas business of over US$3.5 million and has been declared Hit.[99] The final overseas business is around US$3.8 million [100]

Controversy[edit source | edit]

The film's song "Maston Ka Jhund" has landed into controversy after a Hindu organization, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS), a right wing organization took objection to the use of the word "havan" in the song. They alleged that the word Havan (Yagya) has been used in a derogatory manner. Their reference is to the allegedly 'obscene' actions that the actors performed in the song. Demonstrations were held in Goa regarding the issue.[101]

Although film mentions that Milkha Singh held men's 400 meters world record, however Men's 400 metres world record progression does not mention Milkha Singh's name in the world record holders. It is shown that Ranbir Singh (Milkha Singh's coach) mentions world record as 45.9 sec in 1956, but the record was 45.2 sec in 1956 in the name of Lou Jones of United States.[102]

Gurbachan Singh Randhawa, renowned athlete, who was part of Indian team at Rome Olympics mentions that the claim made in movie about Milkha Singh leading the 400 meters race and he lost it as he looked behind, is factually incorrect. In fact he never led the race and he was at fifth position at 300 meters.[102] The race video is also available on YouTube.[103]

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. ^ "News on HT". Hindustan Times. Retrieved Jan 2012. 
  2. ^ "Official Website". Bhag Milkha Bhag Website. Retrieved Jan 2012. 
  3. ^ "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013) | Movie Review, Trailers, Music Videos, Songs, Wallpapers". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
  4. ^ "BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  5. ^ "UTV pulls out of 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' for 'Paan Singh Tomar'". Ibnlive.com. Retrieved 2013-08-14. 
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  14. ^ Midweek: 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' crosses a ton!Midweek: 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' crosses a ton!
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  101. ^ "Hindu group wants screening of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag withheld in Goa". Times of India. 10 June 2013. 
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  103. ^ "ROMA 1960 400 AL FOTOFINISH.avi". youtube. 28 August 2010. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 

External links[edit source | edit]