Last week, the shoes that legendary athlete Milkha Singh wore at the Rome Olympics (1960) fetched the second highest bid — Rs. 24 lakh — at an auction that put 33 pieces of sporting history under the hammer for Rahul Bose’s NGO, The Foundation. But not many know that it was Bhaag Milkha Bhaag makers, Viacom 18 and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, who had bid successfully for the shoes.
Mehra’s biopic Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is due to go on the floors in the last week of February. And to mark the occasion, Milkha was keen to give his shoes as a memento to lead actor Farhan Akhtar. “It was an idea that Rakeysh and Viacom 18 hit upon after a long discussion. Although they bought the shoes for the huge sum of Rs.24 lakhs after a lot of biding and drama, everyone was happy to finally lay their hands on the pair. Milkhaji was also very sentimental about it,” says an insider from the unit.
Now, the athlete plans to gift his on-screen counterpart the memento on February 21 in Chandigarh as good luck. When contacted, Mehra confirms the events, saying, “We really wanted the shoes at any cost. At the end of the day, this is the only wish that Milkha had, and we wanted to make sure we fulfilled it without fail.” While working on the film, Mehra and co-writer Prasoon Joshi have constantly been in touch with Milkha. In fact, Farhan has met the athlete a few times over the last couple of months.
The film also stars Sonam Kapoor as the female lead. And although Mehra is keen to shoot the film in Pakistan where Milkha was born and brought up, plans are yet to be confirmed.