Farhan Akhtar has become me-Milkha Singh
Flying Sikh Milkha Singh gets emotional after seeing the first teaser of Rakeysh’s Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, which is a biopic based on his life
Jyothi Prabhakar (BOMBAY TIMES; December 2, 2012)
When the person on whom a biopic is being made, gets to see the first teaser of the film along with the person who plays his role is certainly rare. Milkha Singh saw the trailer of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag with Farhan Akhtar, who plays the ‘Flying Sikh’ in the biopic, along with director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra.
The minute-long trailer has Farhan in one scene training bare-chested in the rain. He had better look out for those endless ‘how did you get those six-packs?’ questions. The teaser hit the screens on November 30, along with Aamir Khan-starrer Talaash, and went online since Thursday.
It was Milkha Singh who reacted first as the teaser ended. “Very good, amazing,” he said into a suddenly gone-quiet hall. He turned around, and told Farhan, “Every nuance, every mannerism is right. You have become Milkha Singh… Do I have to wait till July to see the film?”
As Farhan accepted the thanks, there was a short round of Milkha (the original) signing posters of the film. Later, Bombay Times got talking with Farhan. Obviously, we asked him about those six-packs. “There is a lot of hard work involved, the right guidance, because that is crucial to pulling off such a look, and then there were trainers, nutritionists, track-and field coach, physio… It took me a year to become this man, with a certain shape and physique.”
Rakeysh added, “If you look carefully, it is not a six-pack. We’ve worked on creating an athlete’s physique, his body. We did some research on the physique of 400m runners — studied their build, from way back in the 60s till now — and then, worked on Farhan’s look, because his physique was the essence of the film.” And as we were chatting, Milkha Singh came back to us, to say, “It was my son Jeev (the famous golf player) who told me, ‘Dad, if there is someone who can make a film on you, it is Rakeysh; Jeev had seen Rang De Basanti and was impressed. Aur maine meri life ki story Rakeysh ko saunp di. I can see now I was right in doing so. And Farhan ne itna achcha kaam kiya hai, keh nahi sakta.”
The poster has also generated a lot of positive response. Vikram Malhotra, COO, Viacom18 Motion Pictures, says, “We are giving people a treat this month by sharing a teaser and the look of Farhan Akhtar as Milkha Singh.”
Says Rakeysh, “Essentially, we’ve all heard about this iconic guy, we all have heard about the Flying Sikh, but we don’t know the real story of this living legend. I am glad I got to tell that story, and am lucky that Prasoon wrote the script. His writing has many, many layers and even while shooting, the layers were being revealed to me,”.
Farhan looks fit enough to run a marathon. “No, no,” he laughs, “I can’t run a marathon, but I can do a 100, 200, 400-metre dash quite well now.”
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, produced by Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra Pictures, will release July 12, 2013.