He is about to kick off shooting for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. But even as Farhan Akhtar gets set to bring Milkha Singh’s life to the big screen along with producer Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, the athlete says that he initially had his heart set on Akshay Kumar playing the lead role.
“For the longest time, I felt that Akshay was correct for my role. But during my initial interaction with Farhan, I realised that he was the best man. I discovered that he has the same determination and grit as me. Now, I can confidently say Farhan is the best choice,” says the former sprinter.
The Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011) star has tried his best to impress Milkha. Besides growing his hair and beard, he has been training everyday for a couple of hours to build the right physique. He has also changed his diet regimen to prepare for the part.
Farhan’s dedication to
the character, it seems, has even won over Milkha’s star golfer son Jeev. “After my first couple of interactions with Farhan, I felt that he had a sportsman’s attitude. Acting may be his profession, but he is a true athlete in spirit,” reveals Jeev.
At a recent event in Chandigarh, Milkha handed over his historic 1960 Rome Olympics shoes to Farhan. The actor admitted that few people knew of the Flying Sikh’s life and struggles. “When I read the script, I realised how little we know about him. I will try my best to do justice to the character and story of Milkha Singh,” said the actor-filmmaker.
Milkha, on his part, pegged his hopes on the biopic inspiring other athletes across the nation. “It’s sad that after 60 years, no Indian athlete has come up to that level despite much better facilities being available now.
I want this film to inspire thousands of Milkha Singhs in India,” says the former sports star.