Farhan Akhtar remembers Milkha Singh: 'Have learnt a lot from him'

It had indeed been a challenge to portray Milkha Singh in his biopic. But after all the hard work, Farhan Akhtar was happy with the appreciation he received from the man himself.

Milkha Singh and Farhan Akhtar

Ace athlete Milkha Singh (right) with his on-screen counterpart, Bollywood actor-director Farhan Akhtar during the announcement of the former's biopic.   -  The Hindu

Bollywood actor Farhan Akhtar remembers the first time he met Milkha Singh, who passed away last Friday, in Mumbai just before the legendary Indian sprinter's biopic Bhaag Milkha Bhaag hit the theatres.

“I was training for the film then and we shared a wonderful time. I was absolutely amazed and in awe,” Farhan tells Sportstar.

As the news broke that Milkha was there to meet his on-screen counterpart at Priyadarshini Park, people rushed to meet the 'Flying Sikh' in person.

“There was such an electric energy when they heard that Milkha ji had come. They all came to see him and seek his blessings. He took time out to speak to each one of them. He told them about the importance of working hard. He had things to do on the day, that I was aware of, but he took time out for everyone. That was what was amazing about that man,” Farhan reminisced.

READ | Jeev remembers Milkha Singh: 'Dad was my best friend, guide and mentor'

It had indeed been a challenge to portray Milkha. But after all the hard work, Farhan was happy with the appreciation he received from the man himself.

“I had just tried to become Milkha Singh for this film. The situations under which he became an athlete - and a world-class one at that - was much more than that. Even I worked hard, but that would only be five per cent of what he did,” the 47-year-old said.


Farhan Akhtar in 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' as the Indian sprint legend.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT


Farhan added, “It was important to all of us associated with the film that Milkha ji, Nimi aunty (his wife Nirmal Kaur) and the children, they all like the film and they think the film represents his spirit in the right way.

"It puts forward the message that he wanted to convey and when they did feel those things, it was a huge relief to us and we were happy that what we set out to do, we had managed to do."

During the course of the shooting, Farhan had numerous meetings with Milkha and every time, he learned a thing or two.

“I have learnt a lot from him. I just feel thankful I was fortunate enough to spend that much time with him. Just being in his presence, he inspired millions of people. Just to be in that aura and in that energy, to be welcomed by his love and warmth, I'm truly grateful and I feel blessed,” Farhan signed off.

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