Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra on Milkha Singh

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra on Milkha Singh

The news of Milkha Singh’s demise dropped in late on Friday night, June 18, which pushed the nation in a state of grief. The Flying Sikh succumbed to COVID19, just days after his wife, Nirmal Milkha Singh, former Indian volleyball captain, passed away battling the same ailment. Milkha Singh, one of India’s earliest premier track and field sprinters, was emulated on the big screen by actor-producer-director-writer Farhan Akhtar in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. The film was the celebrated sprinter’s official biopic.Farhan took to social media to mourn the demise of the legend.

Rakeysh, on the other hand, had not responded until the early hours today. However, while speaking about the biopic and his interaction with Milkha Singh, Rakeysh had said, “Biopic is a label you put on to a film for the collective subconscious of the nation. I spent years researching. Milkha Singh’s life and the partition of India blended so beautifully in his life story. I spent time understanding the period thoroughly and the way a man made a lot of effort to come out of the shadows of his disturbed past. I stayed with Milkha Singh for seven days, when I had gone there prepared to stay only for one day. We went through 6000 hours of conversation with him. Calling a film a biopic sometimes just belittles it because it covers so much more. I didn’t see Milkha’s story as the beginning, middle and end of his journey as a sprinter. There were layers, which have relevance in our modern history — ethnic violence, partition, the after-effects on our relations with people on the other side of the fence. BMB had a great run at the box office, but I know the struggle I’ve been through to find actors who’d play Milkha and his sister well. I was told this film may not make enough to even recover its budget because it wasn’t a conventional story for that time — I wasn’t focussing on the most popular game in the subcontinent. It was heartbreaking but I decided to go on. Logically, I think it makes business sense today for people to make biopics on sports figures from different games. But for a sports biopic to work, you need actors or stars, who can become the characters they’re playing and a story that goes beyond celebrating an individual.”

Talking about choosing Farhan to play Milkha Singh, Rakeysh had told us, “For me, he was always a complete actor. Yes, as an actor, there are roles that are made for you and some that may not be for you. But a good actor can get under the skin of any character. I had complete confidence in Farhan when we cast him for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. Deep down, my instincts had told me that he will elevate the role and take it notches higher. I felt comfortable with that thought. Instinctively, I had said that he will do a good job. It turns out that he didn’t play Milkha Singh, Farhan Akhtar became Mlikha Singh.”
Source From : Times Of India

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