Born in Lyallpur (now in Pakistan) in 1935, Milkha Singh endured a more than turbulent childhood. As a 12 year old during the Partition (the bloody split of British India based on religious demographics in 1947), he witnessed the spine chilling sight of his parents being butchered in front of his eyes. As if that wasn't enough, he had to endure the heartache of concealing himself among corpses on the train to India to escape being murdered.
This was sadly the story of many young children who grew up during the disastrous Partition of India. The Partition can be likened with many racial conflicts all over the world. The Apartheid in South Africa, the system of racial segregation enforced by the government from 1948 to 1994, was a disastrous affair where many children had to endure similar ordeals such as Milkha Singh; running from the police to escape the arms of death, watch their parents being killed right before their very eyes an untimely death. The same can be said for those who grew up during the Rwanda Genocide Mass Slaughter of 1994, the 1981 Brixton Riots and the infamous Holocaust during World War II.
The story of Milkha Singh can be related to individuals globally. Enduring such torture, having his childhood ripped away from him, but yet his innate talent was recognised through his perseverance as an athlete and also as a courageous human spirit, and he was given the name, the ‘Flying Sikh' by the Pakistan General Ayub Khan, becoming the only Indian to have broken an Olympic Record. Milkha Singh, amongst others, set the pace for other Olympic champions of ethnic minorities such as Linford Christie, Tessa Sanderson, Usain Bolt, and Mo Farrah among many others.
Many young aspiring Olympians of Black and Asian descent feel empowered seeing the older generation making a positive name for themselves and being honoured for their achievements.
BAFTA nominated director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, produced by Romp Pictures and Viacom18 Motion Pictures, is truly a story that can touch the world. The film releases worldwide on 12th July 2013 through Reliance Entertainment.
OLYMPIC HERO AND INDIAN ICON, MILKHA SINGH'S INCREDIBLE LIFE STORY GETS SILVER SCREEN DEBUT IN ‘BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG'
In true Olympic spirit, athlete Milkha Singh, aka ‘The Flying Sikh' is set to achieve new feats once again when his incredible life story is given the silver screen treatment in Viacom18 Motion Pictures and ROMP Pictures' Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, releasing internationally on 12th July 2013 through Reliance Entertainment.
Many recall Milkha Singh as a world champion in the 400 meters, who infamously lost the penultimate race of his life - the 400 meters final at the Rome Olympics - but won in LIFE.
Milkha Singh's life is a portrait of professional triumph over personal tragedy. The film attempts to understand a catastrophic loss that was deemed a sure victory and explores through the darkness of disgrace Milkha Singh's redemption and catharsis that came when he confronted his past.
This iridescent tale winds through the plagues of a bloody civil war where Milkha's family were brutally killed during the violent and tumultuous India-Pakistan Partition era resulting in a lost childhood, homelessness, to a life of petty crime and victories hard won and easily lost.
The young Milkha builds his character by enlisting in the Indian Army, and through his Ustaad (teacher) learns some of life's most precious lessons, that being to build his human spirit with perseverance, hard work and discipline. From his Army days, Milkha becomes a formidable runner with an awe-inspiring 96.5 percent winning ratio. Globally recognised as the ‘Flying Sikh' and India's original sports hero, Milkha Singh's life is a colourful portrait of professional triumph over personal tragedy.
The film stars India's most versatile multi-star, the critically acclaimed actor, producer, singer, writer, director and musician Farhan Akhtar [Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Luck By Chance] who essays the role of Milkha Singh for what is described as Farhan's most demanding performance to date.
He is joined by Sonam Kapoor [Saawariya, I Hate Luv Storys, Aisha (Indian version of Jane Austen's classic Emma)], Art Malik [BBC1's Holby City], Rebecca Breeds [Home and Away] and is directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (director of the Bafta nominated film Rang De Basanti, Delhi-6).
The inspirational story is penned by Prasoon Joshi and the soundtrack is composed by the award-winning trio Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy.
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag releases worldwide on 12th July 2013.