The song from Bhaag Milkha Bhaag set in raag 'Khamaaj' drew my attention to the film. I realised that one of my favorite singers Javed Bashir had started singing in Indian films, felt that Shankar Ehsaan Loy are back with some great music and found out how intensely Farhan Akhtar was training for the film. There were so many reasons to go & watch the film beyond being a runner looking for some inspiration.
Sitting in the theater I was thinking of some pasta-in-red-sauce prepared with the best olives, juicy tomatoes and well-cooked spaghetti, that I couldn't eat! Great music, great cinematography, incredible camera work and a notable cast. But the 118 minutes couldn't deliver a film better than the trailers could. In fact, the trailers were far more rewarding!
What went wrong?
Just like a great painting, a pretty dress or an architectural wonder, films need a designer, tailor and a guiding creative vision. Someone who can see the final story before anyone else can. Someone who can do justice to the greatest talent and put them together in a memorable way.
Someone needs to tell the story well.
Farhan Akhtar looks fabulous and his running is at par with the professionals. But his dialogues seem to strike no chord; his voice does not resonate with that of a legend that Milkha Singh is and his conflict is too loose. Shankar Ehsaan Loy have composed some great songs but one wonders why the background score jumps from electric guitar to national anthem to classical music? The story has some very strong historical threads such as the partition. However, while one scene reminds you of 300, why does the other seem like the Spartans will never be born again? Why is the narrative so disconnected? Why does one need to give a 3.5 hour long, uninspiring answer to a question?
My heart did take a leap when Farhan Akhtar was shown running with the landscape of Ladakh in the background; but mostly, the heartbeat kept looking for a rhythm!
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is a lot of talent, effort and enthusiasm lost in translation.