Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Sonam Kapoor, Divya Dutta, Prakash
Raj, Pavan Malhotra, Yograj Singh, Rebecca Breeds
Direction: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Duration: 3 hours 8 minutes
STORY: A film inspired by the legendary Indian athlete, Milkha Singh’s life and journey. REVIEW: He doesn’t sing for his supper. He runs. Every sinew tugging and rippling to be fed. For that one glass of milk(ha!). He had a choice to run away, or to run. He did the right thing, he ran. Oh yes, the eternal metaphor ‘the race of life’. We’re all runners. With reason enough? A finish line to shred? Milkha Singh did. He ran his first race for ek glass doodh.
And he never stopped. Untiringly. He ran because it was his religion. ‘BMB’ traces his scarred childhood, brutalized by India’s Partition; followed by penury and petty crimes. He finds purpose in life when romance blooms with Beero (Sonam). Joining the Indian Army, where his mentor (Malhotra) inspires him to take the big ‘leap’. Thereon, Milkha just runs. Barefooted, bruised, and with the weight of a suffering soul.
He goes on to break records, but faces heartbreaking defeat at the Rome Olympics(1960). He takes it in his stride, overcomes his catastrophic past and ultimately emerges a winner. Mehra is brilliant at his craft; he infuses realism into drama, and explores characters so deeply and sensitively through tragedy and triumph, that it sparks an emotional deluge.
The movie transitions from flashback sepia tones to moods of present, without losing the grip of emotions, ever. Cinematography is ace (Binod Pradhan); the music (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy) heightens the drama. Prasoon’s writing is powerful, lyrics are pure poetry and emotions robustly sweep the scenes with few dialogues. While there’s a lot to marvel at, a hint of the director’s overindulgence in the art, results in a long ‘runtime’ and prolonged scenes that distract. Farhan is fantastic! He peeps through Milkha’s core to essay this role.
With an awe-inspiring body, grit and guts, he puts blood and sweat into Milkha. He races like an athlete, breaks into bhangra like a proud sardar and shows prowess of a Punjab-da-sher. In a brief role, Sonam prettily breezes through. Pavan and Divya (Singh’s sister) are outstanding. Overall, ‘BMB’ pulsates with the storyteller’s sheer passion all the way to the finish line. While you are on-the-run, pause to watch this one.