FOUR YEARS OF BHAAG MILKHA...
Filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (above) wasn’t sure about the fate of his film, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, which released today four years ago. The film starring Farhan Akhtar, (above) was based on the life of athlete Milkha Singh.
“The film could have gone either way,” says Mehra. “Athletics isn’t given that much importance in India, compared to other sports. So, I wasn’t sure if people would be able to connect with it. They did, and I feel wonderful that it did so well,” he adds. The film made over 100 crores on the box office, and became one of Mehra’s biggest hits after Rang De Basanti (2006). “Ever since I was a kid, I was inspired by the story of Milkha Singh. I remember the only thing we used to hear from our neighbours was about this Indian athlete Milkha Singh, and how he is making India popular,” he says. Milkha’s struggle to make a life for himself after Partition, fuelled Mehra’s inspiration to tell his story.
Farhan Akhtar played the role of the athlete, and the filmmaker says it didn’t take the actor much time to agree to the film. “I always wanted to work with him. He had said no to me when I offered him a role in Rang De Basanti. At that time, he wanted to be a director. But I always knew his intensity as an actor and it showed in the film,” he adds.
Athletics isn’t given much importance in India, so wasn’t sure if people would connect with the film RAKEYSH OMPRAKASH MEHRA, FILMMAKER