Sunday, 14 July 2013

3 Mistakes of Mehra's Bhaag Milkha Bhaag...

First and for all, apologies for the delay in publishing this review piece which should have aptly come a day before but then, better late than never. High on hopes and truck loads of expectations (I need not take the blame on myself since I knew what to expect from a Farhan Akhtar starer and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra directed film) I, for weeks eagerly waited for the film to hit the theaters. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag showcases the story of an underdog and his journey till he came to be known to the world as ‘The Flying Sikh’.

The story starts with Milkha Singh missing out on breaking his own record in the Rome Olympics in 1960 and the subsequent outburst of his Indian worshipers. In the quest of trying to convince Milkha to visit Pakistan again for a friendly game tournament between the two sibling countries, his coach Gurudev Singh (Pawan Malhotra) , Ranveer Singh(Yograj singh),milkha’s Indian coach and a government official leave together for Chandigarh and Milkha’s story unfolds through his friend-cum-coach Gurudev Singh’s narration and the simultaneous flashback(s). ‘Flashback’ is Mehra’s first mistake in BMB. One or two flashback’s is fine. But a flashback within a flashback, then coming out from the flashback to another flashback and then jumping into another makes the narrative fall to the ground with a loud thud. The story couldn't hold my attention and heart, in the very beginning, thanks to the needless flashbacks, making the whole experience of viewing tiresome.

Photo Courtesy: Internet

The movie is 187 minutes ‘short’( pun intended). Which makes it approximately 3 hrs long! ‘Long duration’ is Mehra’s second mistake in BMB. It's evident how leisurely the film is made. It's slow pace makes it a wee bit boring in between. While watching, I felt like I was made to travel through the numerous races the sprinter had run and it felt like forever and ever. I was desperately seeking for the ‘wow’ moment where I’d feel the adrenaline rush and jump from my seat or break down into tears except for the partition sequence where the young Milkha tries weaseling out of the misfortune that struck him: his family gets beheaded and his subsequent travel to India in search for his only surviving elder sister Isri Kaur played by the beautiful Divya Dutta.

She is incredible, yet again, as Milkha’s elder sister , blowing life and soul into her character with more of tears and less words. My second favorite character from the film apart from, of course, the central role. Pawan Malhotra, as ever, did a worth appreciating work. This is one actor, I feel, is the most underrated in today’s times. He keeps the story binding throughout.

'Unnecessarily complicating' the script is his third mistake. I felt lost in between trying hard to figure out what happened and when.

Sonam makes a special appearance as the shy Biro who is supposed to be the ideal coy Punjabi kudi, playful , innocent and beautiful.  She has not much to do: just a couple of scenes and a song. Farhan ‘pataofys’ his ladylove by singing the evergreen ‘Nanha Munna Rahi Hun’, making the situation hilarious. Biro is one of the 3 women in Milkha’s life whom he falls for: second is Stella (Rebecca breeds) an Australian whom he meets on his first foreign visit for the Melbourne Olympics. And the third is his real life wife, Mrs. Nirmal Kaur, whom the film doesn't feature. Interestingly, the film ends at a juncture just before her entry into Milkha’s life, as pointed out by the scriptwriter, Prasoon Joshi himself in a certain interview.
Photo Courtesy: Internet

Few light moments here and there make up for the long duration. Like Milkha’s first ever travel experience on an aircraft. So hilarious! An interesting observation that a keen and well informed movie buff can spot is the director himself, coming in for half a minute as the pilot of the aircraft and the hilarious chaos that follows, throwing the audience in splits. Talking of observations, jumping into the frame is for the first time(most likely) is Loy Mendonsa, belonging to the music composer trio, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy who have also lend their music for the film, triggering the high spirited, fun, song ‘Slow Motion Angreza’.

Meesha  Shafi, a Pakistani actress, plays Perizaad, a national level swimmer who has next to nil screen time, though does well in whatever little she was supposed to do.  National award winning Tamil actor Prakash Raj can be seen in a delightful change as the Jawaan’s trainer who is feared by the most. He has his own unique antics making his character lovable. Art Mallick plays Milkha’s father. Though have heard a lot about this talented and international repute actor but found his casting misplaced entirely because of his British accent which was so evident during his dialogue deliveries.

The music and the background score for the film were composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, their first film collaboration with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. The soundtrack features seven tracks with lyrics penned by Prasoon Joshi and needless to say, Joshi does a kick-ass job when replacing words for emotions. The ‘Zinda’ track is sung by Shanker Mahadevan’s son Siddharth. Impressive, he is for a first timer.
Photo Courtesy: Internet

Okay, till now your all hopes from the film must have died down. But,here’s the best part. As they say, keep the best for the end. Master Jabtej Singh’s performance, who plays the younger Milkha, is worth giving a standing ovation. Superbly essayed by the young star. The partition riots sequence is heart wrenching. Enough to make you cry buckets.

Ladies and Gentlemen!!! Now please put your hands together and welcome with a thunderous applause, the soul and heart of the film: FARHAN AKHTAR. Man!!! This is one actor who defines the word ‘awesomeness’ in all its senses. He did not play the part. He lived it, breathed it, ate it, slept it, bathe it and most importantly felt it. His hard-work, his dedication and strong will power (these are the three attributes the real Milkha Singh gives out to the audiences in a note as the credits roll at the end) is for the universe to see and celebrate. Every bulging muscle, every living cell, every drop of sweat speaks loud of the immense hard-work the actor has put in to fit into character. And proving out to be a supporting stick to him is the cinematographer of the film, Binod Pradhan who make Milkha Singh’s running a visual treat. They both deserve a grand salute!

When Milkha runs the race against his Pakistani counter parts in the ending sequence, one feels like jumping in the seat and shouting,’ Bhaaaggggg Milkhaaaa Bhaaaggg’. Ironically, these where his father’s last words to him when he is told to run away from his village.Well as for the director, Mr. Mehra has done a commendable job. With a few mistakes and lesser blunders, this is not Mehra’s best work. His best work still remains Rang De Basanti.

Overall, an inspiring, fun film that will make you laugh, cry and motivate you to put your heart and soul into whatever you do. Farhan Akhtar delivers a phenomenal performance. Go watch it for him!

Quick bytes
  • Sonam Kapoor charged only INR11 for the film.
    Photo Courtesy: Internet
  • International company ReelSports coordinated the sports action for the film and cast all the elite runners.
  • Farhan Akhtar underwent 7 months long extensive preparations for his role in the film before the actual shooting started.
P.SAny suggestions for future posts? Feel free to send in your suggestions and requests here or on my e-mail id: . Hope to hear from you soon :) 


  1. I love the amount of research you do yourself before writing a piece.great job, keep up the great work :)

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  2. If you felt lost watching this movie.Sorry to say sir, but you are retarded....Film was clearly a masterpiece.A good one in a very very long time.

  3. Please watch more films before finding out 'mistakes' in a movie review. If you found out so many mistakes in a simply narrated film, sorry to say, you have to do a bit of homework before reviewing films in the future :)

    Anyhow, except for the mistakes part, overall it was a good read. :)

  4. simply flawless film deserves 5 out of 5 stars watch this film it is a great one

  5. First and for all, if, by any chance you have read this blog or even for that matter this post properly, you'll realize,I believe, that you did a mistake there when referring to me as 'Sir'. My name is Asmita and it's common sense that I m a girl.
    Secondly,I wrote honestly whatever I felt about the film and the same was echoed by many of this blog's readers and reviews brought out by leading publishing organisations. A film is made for the masses, an interpretation of the creative team behind its making. Every individual reacts in its own distinguished manner towards a film, and I can see that here too. You found the movie flawless.Good. I could clearly see some mistakes, hence, I pointed out. No one turns retard if they don't match your opinion. But,due to your comments, I feel, you will fail to understand this. I pity you.
    Thirdly, when people write blogs about certain things, its not that that they comment random shit on any which random thing. It is out of sheer interest and enthusiasm for towards the issue that they write. Same is with me. It's because of my strong passion towards cinema that I write this blog and mind you I do my complete research so as not to misinform my readers. And I m proud to declare that I need no third person to dictate my views. My passion for cinema speaks for itself.
    Every film has its pluses and minuses. Before writing a review piece I make sure both of that is equally acknowledged in the review. Sadly,people like you turn a blind eye towards the dark side and talk shit to people who want to inform you about newer things. I, wish to further not waste my brains at replying to your 'immature' comments. I believe, this much should do!
    Anyways,thank you for reading! I promise you, with more such posts in the future you'll understand my point. Thank you once again.

  6. And to back my words, here comes Jitesh Pillai. You know who he is? He is the editor-in-chief of Filmfare magazine. Just now, one of his tweets read:
    'BMB engages as much as it disengages. So many scenes meander,so many scenes are taut. Crisper writing and esp a sharper edit may have helped.'
    This is exactly what I have pointed out in my review.

  7. About the non-linear narrative structure, I remember Christopher Nolan's Memento. The wikipedia page has a 'chart' showing the non-linear structure and this clearing out some issues.

    <img src="

    Speaking of non-linear narrative structure, I once saw this movie, 500 days of summer. I couldn't really make out the point of the film (didn't give it a second try), but I guess the beauty of some films lies in it's complexity. What fun if every thing is spoon fed? :)


  8. What's the use of using non-linear narrative structure if it eventually disinterests the audiences from celebrating a beautiful story? Unnecessary it was, for depicting a story being-worth-told on the big screen. I kept swinging between his childhood flashbacks and the present ongoing track. Non-linear narrative structure works for some 'kind' of stories and not for others. BMB comes in the latter category. At least for me. :)

    1. Non-linear narrative has been successfully used in many acclaimed and award winning biopics throughout time. It perfectly 'WORKS' for a biopic.The real problem here being, the complexity related to its usage. To be honest, Mehra did a decent job using this tool which is one of the most complicated when it comes to direction. Accepted that the plot meanders at times. I feel the real problem was the duration and inclusion of some really unnecessary sequences like the 'ghee drinking' or the whole Sonam Kapoor part for that matter.

  9. Well movie was okay. Milkha Singh is already a star and you need not to temper anything with the story you just have to put it as it is with some feelings and movie would have become a blockbuster. But it failed to do so, acting is good but poor direction that is all i can say that. Nice review Asmita good research.

  10. Seconded!
    Thank you so much!Keep coming back here! :)

  11. Good work Asmita...... (y)

  12. Good Work with the review thing. But i feel that this is the best sports related film after CHAK DE !

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Thank you! and yeah, I too agree on that! :)

  14. I agree with you. The film is just too long for its own could have been more crisp. There are many factual errors too in the film. But most importantly what disappoints me is the RUNNING . The film could take a few points from Chariots of Fire where the coach actually talks about the techniques and real science behind running. In this film they only show Farhan running like a mad dog in training .....blindly running with sole intention to sweat and get tiered .

    But having said all this , when compared to the current quality and content in Hindi cinema this film ROCKS.

  15. Thank you so much! :)
    My pleasure! :)
    Keep coming back here.. :)

  16. He may have been the best athlete in the history of the country, but that is no excuse to glorify his life in such an exaggerated manner as this movie has done. And as mentioned by Vibhooti, some sequences like the ghee drinking scene, or the scene where Meesha Shafi approaches him in the pool seem a bit out of place. And definitely the casting could have been better (Art Malik and even Yograj Singh as the head coach).

    All in all, I would say a very honest review by you...liked it!

  17. I think the movie was amazing!!
    187 mins.. kept me hooked throughout!!
    need not compare RDB nd BMB! Cz one is motivating.. and the other inspired from ones life and motivating!
    And no 3mistakes were there!

  18. This review is by far the shittiest i have ever read. I found the movie amazing

  19. First of all BMB was a great movie, just a tad long. Better than most Indian movies.

    India with its huge population is GENERATIONS behind numerous tiny countries in sports, which is a shame (according to me), courtesy red-tapism and politicians.

    Great review Asmita. Appreciate the amount of research which has gone in to etch this review. Had you been a bit lighter on ROPM (director), few readers would have been happy...

    Another minute negligible slip in the movie was that Milkha rides a Royal Enfield Classic Desert Storm (launched in 2010) during his journey to Govindpura in 1960. The Biker in me couldn't take that.

  20. You see the first mistake as you pointed it out was the 'needless flashbacks'. Now, one thing that i would like you to ask yourself is without those shots bursting in your mind, would the film be any thing more than a plain old biography. you must keep in mind that the film is not only about sprints and records, it also reflects a very turbulent period in the Indian history. And now, even if i overlook the historical part, the flashbacks impart originality to the film. Excuse the director, put yourself in his place, while narrating incidents, don't you suddenly move on to another event of your life in times gone by and then again come back to the old one? Perhaps you should try Christopher Nolan's film 'Memento', if I am unable to make you understand what I want to communicate.

  21. i think nana munna song was released later than shown in the film, just checked the movie released in 1962 and milkha is shown singing it in fifties

  22. One of the best movie I have seen in the recent times, motivational & inspiring...