Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is working on one of his most ambitious projects â€“ Bhaag Milkha Bhaag â€“ and says he wants to break linguistic barriers with the film on the greatest Indian athlete Milkha Singh so that the whole world will know his story.
â€œI want Milkhaâ€™s story told in Hindi-Punjabi, to be dubbed in French, Polish, etc. This would be my most ambitious project striving to break linguistic barriers. Milkhaâ€™s story has a universal resonance. Itâ€™s an Indian story but very universal. We want his story to go out to the world,â€ says Mehra. â€œThe theme is â€“ â€˜zindagi se bhago nahin, zindagi ke saath bhagoâ€™. Itâ€™s very relevant to todayâ€™s life,â€ he adds. Mehra says he hasnâ€™t finalised any actor to play the role of the legendary runner yet. Here are the few other things that he said…
Would all that be part of your film?
Thatâ€™s what attracted me to the subject and not so much his athletics. Milkha Singhâ€™s story was
inspiring. This guy had nothing and still he made a spectacular success of his life. His life has such a resonance.
Have you met Milkha Singh?
Iâ€™ve met him numerous times in Chandigarh, talked to him for hours. During our conversation, I opened doors for him that even he had closed. We got to know things even his family didnâ€™t know. But Iâ€™d be depicting his life from age 13 to the age of 28. Milkhaâ€™s family has been very cooperative. It was Milkha Singhâ€™s son, the champ golfer Jeev, who coordinated the whole thing.
Whom are you casting?
No idea. Weâ€™re starting the film end of this year or early next year. Any actor would kill for the part of Milkha Singh. This kind of a subject comes to an actor once during his lifetime. Not too many people are such role models. Even my Rang De Basanti was a bio-pic in a very strange way. But that was set in contemporary India. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag goes back in time. I might cast a big star or a newcomer. Letâ€™s see.
Your films reflect socio-political reality â€“ would your Milkha look like him?
The role is extremely demanding. Dramatically and psychologically more demanding than physically. The actor will have to go through a journey into darkness to emerge in the bright light. Itâ€™s a classic tale of struggle and triumph.
Your films have always been musicals. What about Bhaag Milkha Bhaag?
Itâ€™s a musical. AR Rahman is doing the music. Iâ€™ve met him, told him the subject. Itâ€™s a completely new territory for me. Rahman has travelled many universes. I want Milkhaâ€™s story to reach every part of the world.