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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


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