No other actor could have done the role better than Farhan Akhtar!
Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Sonam Kapoor, Divya Dutta, Pavan Malhotra, Yograj Singh, Prakash Raj, Master Japtej Singh
Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
I was kind of wary of going to this film as I had a niggling doubt that it might be in the likes of a documentary. Finally, Farhan Akhtar tipped the scales and I decided to go with the rest of my family who were going to see it anyway.
The film is based on The Flying Sikh Milkha Singh’s life story. It begins with the Rome Olympics in 1960. Milkha Singh (Farhan Akhtar) fails to win the 400 m and all the Indian newspapers write him off. Actually, on the verge of victory, Milkha recalls a horrifying incident from childhood and turns back to look, losing the race.
When a race is organised between Pakistan and India to be hosted by the former country, Milkha refuses to take part. A cabinet member decides to go to Chandigarh to persuade Milkha to run again for his country. He meets Milkha’s coach Gurudev Singh (Pavan Malhotra) on the train.
The rest of the movie is about Gurudev Singh narrating the story of Milkha Singh’s life and how he becomes The Flying Sikh.
Farhan Akhtar – there could not have been a better choice for the role of Milkha Singh, I am sure. He was just amazing and it’s so obvious that the actor has worked fantastically hard to fit into the role.
The races, the excitement, the adrenalin rush, the disappointments – every scene touches the viewer’s heart.
Then there is the flashback into Milkha Singh’s horrendous childhood and the suffering he and his family undergo during the partition. Very well sequenced and portrayed. Even the child actor (Master Japtej Singh) playing the young Milkha Singh has played his part very well.
Pavan Malhotra as Coach Gurudev Singh has done exceedingly well. But I liked Yograj Singh (Indian Coach Ranveer Singh) even better. He was just perfect for his role.
Divya Dutta deserves a special mention. We keep seeing this actress in small roles from time to time. In this, she has a fairly chunky role and performance is simply superb.
Sonam was cute in her minuscule role. Prakash Raj also has a small role and he has done it well.
I almost got up to dance to the song ‘Maston Ka Jhund’. It had such a catchy beat and the dancers were good too.
I was a mite worried that the running time of the movie was 3 hrs plus 7 minutes, but the film moved fast and did not stagnate at any point.
While Farhan Akhtar has given an outstanding presentation throughout the film, the scene in which Milkha breaks down when he visits his home in Pakistan is the best. It was heartbreaking to watch him as he faces his childhood traumas.
VERDICT: Overall, an excellent movie that’s a must watch. I believe it has also been made ‘tax free’ now.