Monday, July 15, 2013

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, a disappointment

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, a scene from the film

Milkha Singh

I am not a movie critic or an expert. In fact when someone asks me how a particular Bollywood flick was I steer away from saying, ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’. For I have never held a camera, given orders to a large crew and more. But I do feel ‘happy’ or ‘disappointed’ with films. Not in the ‘I will cry’ way or ‘It didn’t tickle my funny bone’ way but in the way that I feel a film could have been better for the maker is talented, the producer is rich, there is no dearth of talent, the theme was iconic and more.
So when yesterday I walked out of the theatre after watching Bhaag Milkha Bhaag I was disappointed. As I mentioned I am no expert neither do I belong to the generation – ‘I have a FB account so I have an opinion’ but these were the few things that popped up in my head. A lot of you may disagree and I would not want to debate on that.
·         Why were most of the dialogues of Milkha Singh in Hindi? While as a child we saw him talk in Punjabi and from what I know and read he does talk mostly in Punjabi?
·         If the Indian audience can watch films in French and Spanish & can swing to Punjabi numbers am sure a little more of Punjabi would have been acceptable.
·         I understand most films and film flockers go after big stars – But why was not an actor from Punjab chosen to play Milkha Singh? The actor, Jabtej Singh, who played Milkha Junior was far more convincing than Farhan.
·         Why was Sonam Kapoor in the film at all? When a fellow viewer (non-Indian) in the theatre raised a brow and asked me who Sonam was all I could say was ‘She is a model and fashion icon’. Even after her so-called ‘acting’ in Raanjhanaa it is going to take a while for me to call her an actor.
·         Why was Art Malik (a Pakistan born Brit actor) selected to play Milkha’s father? Even in the Hindi dialogues uttered by him one could sense the accent!
·         The script laid emphasis on the girls that came in Milkha’s life before he tied the knot. Why couldn’t there be at least a fleeting mention about the woman he married and is his wife?
·         I would say Pavan Malhotra who has played Milkha’s coach Gurudev would have done justice to the iconic role! Yet again, Divya Dutta was brilliant. Respect.
·         Prasoon Joshi’s lyrics failed too, the passion was lukewarm.
·         In the end, I still had hoped that there would be a befitting tribute to Milkha Singh – not a hazy collage of pictures. At least, the viewers, especially the youth, could have gotten a chance to see the real man or heard his voice.

Honestly, I missed the passion and patriotism in the film. I was expecting a lot more from the man who had us moist eyed and thinking in Rang De Basanti. For that matter, Chak De! India ( SRK - an actor we all love to criticise) touched me but this one completely failed.  This was one good chance to pay tribute to an icon and it was wasted by a team of people, who had the potential to do justice to it. There will never be another Milkha Singh and knowing our film industry nobody would ‘waste’ their time, effort and energies on attempting to make a film on him again. In fact, just reading up the Wikipedia page on Milkha Singh was far more inspiring than watching a three-hour film. Not one dialogue gave me goose-bumps in fact a status update on FB by one of my friends (journalist, Pallavi Rebbapragada) stirred a sea full of emotions. It read, “The rushes of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag remind me of the time we spoke to Milkha Singh for our India Today cover story on Olympics 2012. "Sorry beta, medal haath se nikal gaya" , after which he broke out into a hysterical monologue. Thank you Milkha Singh for adding emotion to our article and telling us how an Olympic contender lives every moment of his life with the despair of losing, and rarely, with the pride of winning.”
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Image: here and here

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