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BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG - Though you may not find it as energetic as projected but that is how real cinema can revive in Hindi Film Industry. (Review by Bobby Sing)

12 Jul, 2013 | Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / B / Movie Reviews / 2013 Releases

One of the most important responsibilities of cinema in a country is to bring forward few well researched and worth watching movies not only on its History, but also on its forgotten national heroes such as S. Milkha Singh, fondly known as “The Flying Sikh”. And with BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG, director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, his writer Prasoon Joshi and their entire team has duly fulfilled their above mentioned responsibility competently and have proved themselves as true movie making masterminds ahead than many others well known names in the Hindi Film Industry at the present.

Frankly speaking, though BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG may not be a perfect film, but still it can easily be presented as an example of choosing new unexplored subjects in front of our Hindi film-makers in particular, who have really started taking it quite easy, fooling the audiences with the same old routine stuff served with some starry names, one after another. So where at one end BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG may have a few downers, yet on the other it remains a lesson for the so called commercial film-makers teaching them that how worth watching commercial films can also be made on subjects based on our rich cultural history featuring the national heroes.
Talking about the film itself, yes it rightly introduces the younger generation to a man who had the guts of steel, conviction of an achiever and the spirit to do the hard work beyond imagination. It perfectly portrays a few selected chapters (till his last race) of the tough life lived by S. Milkha Singh taking many cinematic liberties of its own and remains a worth experiencing film for more than one reason, unarguably. But at the same time BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG again showcases the similar mistakes made by the thoughtful director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra in his earlier films namely AKS (2001) and DELHI-6 released in 2009. Here I am keeping RANG DE BASANTI (2006) out of the list as I do assume that the film surely had another thinking mind working behind the curtain, who was none other than Aamir Khan, popularly known as Mr. Perfectionist. Therefore leaving RDB apart, director ROM (who also makes a cameo in the film) surprisingly commits many identical blunders in his present film too like insertion of few long & over dramatized sequences (for example the Ghee drinking & in-plane scenes), unnecessarily giving artistic touches to the horrifying days of our independence, a less engaging second half full of predictability and few avoidable dull moments in the narration resulting in an over-lengthy film going beyond 3 hours.
Nevertheless, beginning with its plus points first, BMB does remain a worth watching realistic saga for all, mainly due to its three strong merits mentioned below.
1. Firstly it needs to be applauded for the unbelievable kind of effort put in by writer-actor-singer and director Farhan Akhtar playing the lead role of S. Milkha Singh. The hard working creator not only looks exactly like the real Flying Sikh but he also plays his part with an utmost sincerity and conviction which is mostly missing in the present big names of the Industry. Therefore its indeed a must watch just for the astonishing hard work, passion and commitment shown by Farhan alone, coming up with such a memorable performance which certainly deserves the best awards of the year without any second thoughts. If truth be told, you don’t witness such kind of willingness to perform your given role with such perfection in our Hindi Cinema more often.
2. As the second merit it has a commendable performance from a young Jabtej Singh, portraying the childhood days of S. Milkha Singh superbly. The boy is not only a perfect choice for the role but he also comes up with a performance which can equally stand tall along with the one presented by Farhan. Particularly in the scene where he finds his whole family lying dead in the backyard.
3. Thirdly the film truly deserves to be seen for two small cameos of the immensely talented Divya Dutta & one of the most underrated actors of Hindi films, Pawan Malhotra. Both the veterans bring back the emotional tears in their respective scenes and make you feel the hidden pain in the life story of S. Milkha Singh more than any other actor in the entire film. Personally I too had moist eyes hearing the way, Divya calmly says, “Milkhu” in a scene where she meets him after a long time. And after watching her gem of a performance as the elder sister I was forced to think that probably a period Hindi film around Punjab cannot be made without Divya Dutta at all in the present scenario. Along with Divya, Pawan Malhotra gives another towering performance as the coach which once again proves that the veteran is one of the most talented actors of the Industry who is not being given the right roles since many years now.
In the supporting cast, Prakash Raj surprises you in a short positive appearance and thankfully Yograj Singh comes up with a quite controlled act as the national coach. In the female lead Sonam impresses in a guest role and both Meesha (from Pakistan) and Rebecca Breeds (from Australia) are just fine. K.K. Raina delivers an ok act but DalipTahil is not able to make any kind of impact playing Pandit Nehru.
As a cinematic documentation of S. Milkha Singh’s world famous career, BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG does ample justification to all the suffering, struggle and triumph lived by the Flying Sikh to a large extent. But in the process, director becomes self obsessed with his own work and goes overboard at several places leading to a less impactful film working against the huge expectations. The cinematography is of international standard, enhancing the overall result to many folds using the graphics in its various sequences magnificently. Yet the director forcibly uses his own artistic touches in the 1947 killing sequences which could have been avoided as I strongly felt. To elaborate on the same, the attackers coming on horses dressed in black attires like elegant dacoits to mercilessly kill people actually gave it a delibrate filmy touch that could have been dealt differently.
The early part of the film reminds you of PAAN SINGH TOMAR since the reason to opt for sports in the army remains the same here. But then you get to see a well directed and majestically acted first half which impresses you a lot being a realistic bio-pic and a visual treat, also providing the much needed entertainment factor constantly. Post intermission the pace drops considerably and everything starts heading towards a predictable race event taking too long with many overstretched sequences. The girls coming one after another become annoying after a while. And then it all comes down to the most awaited moment of the race where I really missed some energetic background music and the excitement which could bring me on to the edge of my seat as expected.
Hence, it should be noted that this is not a Sports movie but a well made realistic and emotionally moving bio-pic which goes over-length towards the end, unfortunately. The film actually could have been easily edited into a fast paced epic but perhaps at times, creative directors find it too hard to edit out their own well shot sequences on the editing table. The film does move you a lot in its various brilliant sequences, but with a better edit and more exhilarating background score it could have reached that much desired cult status for sure. The musical score by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy (Loy also makes an appearance in a song) serves the purpose well as you are watching it on the screen and the songs are also intelligently used taking the narration forward. But truly speaking I really couldn’t appreciate its title song at all with such a weak composition.
On the whole, BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG may not be as energetic as projected in its promotional campaign. It misses the fire and it misses the excitement. Yet it does remain a worth watching film and a significant step in Hindi Film Industry, showing them a way that we do need to make films on our historical figures and national heroes at regular intervals, along with catering to the commercial aspects of the business like BMB.
So do watch it in the theaters with all the young ones in your family, especially for Farhan, Divya and Jabtej respectfully saluting our national hero, The Flying Sikh, Sardar Milkha Singh.
Ratings : 3.5 / 5 (Including 1 especially for the sincere efforts put in by Farhan Akhtar)

Tags : Bhaag Milkha Bhaag Review By Bobby Sing, BMB Movie Review by Bobby Singh, Reviews by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Bollywood Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews By Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Bollywood Movies Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com, Bobby Sing Bollywood Reviews, New Bollywood Movies Reviews, New Bollywood Movies Released, New Hindi Films Reviews, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By Bob
12 Jul 2013 / Comments ( 8 )
Bobby Sing

Thanks for visiting and appreciating the review Neethi.


Bobby Singh thanks for the input. Actually you should be part of Indian commercial critics league. No I am serious. I haven"t seen films yet but your observation looks genuine.

Bobby Sing

Thanks a lot for your kind appreciation Jagroop. I always try to do my work with the utmost sincerity and the rest is all in the Almighty's hands where he wishes to take me to.........! But honestly encouraging comments like these are actually my fuel to continue with the same spirit.
So thanks once again.

Jayesh Shah

Excellent review as usual!

Did you not think that the romance sub-plot was wound up rather suddenly? I also find that whenever Hindi films include non-Indian characters the acting quality drops and then some (case in point \'My Name is Khan\' where some some of the acting is excruciating, especially that of the interrogation officer as well as a few other minor characters). I don\'t understand why other than poor actors or poor direction (or both?)

I do think some fat had to be cut out to make this a better film but as it is, it is already the best commercial Hindi film I have seen this year so far and if only other commercial fare directors would take note, we might be saved from the extremely bad films like "Himmatwala", "Dabangg 2" and so on.

Bobby Sing

Thanks Jayesh Shah and yes whenever it comes to foreign characters, I too feel the same about the quality of acting. May be its the limited choice which plays the spoilsport here.
Thanks a lot once again for your appreciating words and I do hope that with the success of BMB we will surely get to see some more good bio-pics soon as Bollywood is known to follow its Hit movies blindly.


prakash bhatia
Hi Bobbyji,
Quite interesting review and very pertinent observations. Mehra should have totally concentrated on film making instead of doing a small role by shaving of his beard.This problem is with Subhash Ghai also.It is in bad taste. You are very right about underated Pawan Malhotra.What a fine actor he is.He goes into the skin of character.An awesome performance by him after Black Friday.What should I say about Divya Dutta an excellent actress. Can\'t forget her extraordinary performance here and her small role in Special26.But I don\'t agree with you about Jograj\'s performance. He was the weakest after Milkha\'s brother in law.Farhan Akhtar has thrown a challenge before all other so called \'actors\'.Hats off to him for creating the great Milkha Singh on screen and salute Mehra for his courage to make a film on such a subject. Ofcourse a big salute to shri Milkha Singhji for revealing every aspect of his life with honesty. Such qualities you find only in old timers.Thanks.
Bobby Sing

Hi Prakash Bhatia Ji,
Thanks a lot for your kind words and yes Mehra could have done a lot better with a few things less.
However regarding Jograj performance, I would like to say that his performances are mostly over the top and too loud. But in BMG he is there in a very controlled manner not doing the usual shouting acts and that is why I wrote, "Thankfully Yograj Singh comes up with a quite controlled act as the national coach".

Still despite of its avoidable drawbacks this remains a trend-setter film in Bollywood where Bio-pics are not encouraged and they niether have been big hits in the past. So it indeed opens new paths for the other film-makers pointing towards a bright future.


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