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Bhaag Milkha Bhaag: Reality lost in the overdose of drama

Shashi Priya | Last Modified - Jan 16, 2014, 10:21 AM IST

While BMB's first half is a runner's film that lacks pace, 2nd half is quite engaging
  • Bhaag Milkha Bhaag: Reality lost in the overdose of drama
    Bhaag Milkha Bhaag: Reality lost in the overdose of drama

    It is 1960, Rome Olympics, the announcers are at their microphones calling out names of athletes, including Milkha Singh's and even before you get the liberty to decide on your own that Milkha Singh is a national hero, the film's opening shot makes him one, with the stereotypical make-believe, stand alone shot of Milkha Singh (Farhan Akhtar) in the middle of the huge stadium. It is not you who decides Milkha is a national hero by watching his real life unfold in front of you through BMB, it is the film that has already decided it for you. Quite a dramatic opening for a biopic which is touted to be almost real by its makers.

    Farhan Akhtar, Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra, India's most respected athlete, Milkha Singh - the last thing you expect out of a concoction of the three is an overdose of drama, but sadly, your last expectation is the film's first attribute. The reality of Milkha Singh's biopic is lost in the overdose of drama that Bollywood so proudly serves on its platter. After Rang De Basanti, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, has forgotten the art of making songs as the means to process his stories, which is evident in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, where songs appear in random, unnecessary, redundant patches becoming as jarring as they could for both eyes and ears. In the middle of all this, you sit and wonder about your aspirations from the film and cling to hope before you finally decide to dismiss it as overrated. But then comes Akhtar as Milkha Singh, singing a country western style Hindi song at a Melbourne bar with an Australian girl and you are forced to think how credible this biopic could be with all your hopes dashed. Sonam Kapoor's fake curls, Farhan Akhtar's bleeding bandages dramatically unwrapping and falling off in slow motion, Art Malik's hilarious NRI accent Punjabi, all this and more - too much of un real in real makes the 3 hour 10 minutes long BMB a runner's movie that lacks pace

    But after you sit through the dragging first half, the film starts gathering pace with the screen time now consumed more with Milkha's record-breaking achievements on the field than vignettes from his personal life. The saving grace are the patches of Milkha Singh's training period as an athlete. The scenes appear convincingly real. Film's cinematography is stunning and so is its seamless editing. It is clear that Mehra and his team worked very hard to bring the story of Milkha Singh to the screen. There is a lot of research that went into BMB and the running sequences are quite gripping.
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