Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013) Film Review

A moving biopic based on a true runner ‘Milkha Singh’ also known as ‘The Flying Sikh’. Directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and starring Farhan Akhtar as Milkha Singh, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag takes you on an emotional journey.

The truth behind Singh’s journey gradually unfolds, where we see his plight, struggle and constant hard work. After facing the India-Pakistan war and losing close family members, Milkha Singh continues to run for his life, chasing his dream. Effortless training, cups filled with sweat and the thirst for the blue jacket is what encourages Milkha to make his country proud and become “one of India’s most iconic athletes”.

Farhan Akhtar perpetuates a powerful performance as Milkha Singh. He physically and mentally dives into his character, where we believe and most importantly trust his actions. You can tell that Akhtar has worked very hard for this film by building up his body and transforming into this determined runner. Farhan truly pushes the emotion, where his pain is encountered and triumph is absorbed. We are constantly on Milkha’s side where we put our full belief and wishes for him, thus making us eager for him to claim victory.

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is a very long paced film. Indeed this true story gradually unfolds in its own pace, where just when you think its over, another event emerges. This non-linear structure keeps the audience involved and gets them fixing the puzzle.

Critically speaking, I wasn’t a huge fan of the duration, where some scenes were far too long paced and unnecessary. Likewise, the sparks of romance with the total of three ‘love-at-first-sights’ became less realistic and somewhat irrelevant. The time where Milkha falls in love at first is believable and a cute love story. However, the second and third rub off on his character, the wrong way.

On a lighter note, cinematography by Binod Pradhan definitely pushed the narrative forward. He tended to focus on wider landscapes and Ariel shots which captured location and a sense of space. The slow motion tracking of Milkha running was visually satisfying where the motion and drama built up very well. Every drop of sweat, every stomp on the floor and every ribbon crossed is captured. Those finest details are memorable. Likewise, shots of Milkha’s growth are encountered; where throughout the film we never leave his sight once.

Overall, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is a powerful film based on a likeable character. The non-linear structure and calm editing style lets you enjoy the film without sharp cuts or abrupt jumps. Emotions and tension are all evident in the film, where the violent scenes were realistically acted out and beautifully shot. Apart from the long duration which was a let down, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag captures an inspiring tale taking you on a memorable journey.

My Rating: 8.5/10
Written by: Meera Darji


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