Day 23: Bhaag Milkha Bhaag Review

Four of us, D, I, MIL and FIL went to see Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. It was the first movie in a multiplex for our group. Here goes my review:-

Story – The story is inspired from a true life as per the credits. The movie is a biopic of a famous Indian athlete Milkha Singh or “The Flying Sikh”, a title drawn from a comment of General Ayub Khan. The movie attempts to give an account of the ups and downs in the life of one of India’s greatest sprinters, showcase his failures, his victories, his grit and determination. The movie tells the tale of a person’s journey from witnessing the massacre of his family during Indo-Pak partition and becoming homeless, to joining a gang of thieves and falling in love, followed by recruitment in Indian Army from where he goes on to become one of India’s most iconic athletes.

The Good Points –

# A successful attempt at inspiring the audience to overcome the odds and do good in life instead of giving into crime.

# Very good acting by Farhan Akhtar. He has done justice to the character and the director’s vision of the same. And the way he has built up his physique!! His portrayal of mental and physical prowess is awe-inspiring.

# Shooting locales, computer graphics, cinematography, accuracy etc are good.

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The Bad Points –

# Awfully long movie. 3 hours and 7 minutes! It has been a long time since I watched such a long movie. 2 or 3 songs and some unnecessary scenes could have been removed from the final edit.

# The bits and pieces from Milkha’s life have been sewn together yet they do not form a good taut screenplay together. The aim and objective of the movie is somewhat lacking. There is no building up to the climax scene in the movie. I missed that.

# Excessive repetition of past events from Partition. And the haunting image of a phantom killer on horseback reminded strongly of Zanjeer.

# 90% of story is being told in flashback by Milkha’s coach. And flashback within flashback isn’t good for audience. Audience like MIL and FIL are not so movie savvy to grasp such different time zones. They tend to get confused. And what is with Bollywood showing song and dance sequences in flashback? Does the narrator actually sing the song or do the dance? and how can he tell what talk/song/dance happened between two persons when he was not there? Bollywood should really get over this flashback narration drawback and stick to facts.

# Humor is misplaced and bland in the movie and is poor in quality. All that was missing was a Sardar joke!

# A make out scene and an implication of sex taking place with moaning caused a bit of discomfiture as in-laws were there. Thankfully the movie was so long that the scenes didn’t stay for long in their minds.

# There is a gaffe. In a scene Farhan hums lyrics from the famous song “Nanha Munna Rahi Hu” to charm Beeru (Sonam Kapoor). This was before he joined Army. But the movie which has that song was released in 1962.

Overall – a good effort by Mehra and superb acting by Farhan Akhtar. If you are interested in biopics, inspiring movies that showcase a person coming to terms with his traumatic past to better his future, to excel in his chosen field by hard-work and can bear a long movie, go for it.

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