Last week, the shoes that legendary athlete Milkha Singh wore at the 1960 Rome Olympics 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 it was Bhaag Milkha Bhaag makers Viacom 18 and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra who bid successfully for the shoes.
The biopic, directed by Mehra, is set to go on the floors in the last week of February. And to mark the occasion, Singh wanted to give his shoes to lead actor Farhan Akhtar.
The athlete plans to present the memento to his on-screen counterpart in Chandigarh on Tuesday.
"We really wanted the shoes at any cost," said Mehra. "At the end of the day, this is the only wish Milkha had, and we wanted to make sure we fulfilled it."
While working on the film, Mehra and co-writer Prasoon Joshi have been in constant touch with Singh. Akhtar, too, met the athlete a few times over the last couple of months.
Mehra is keen to shoot in Pakistan, where Singh was born and brought up, but those plans are yet to be confirmed. The film also stars Sonam Kapoor.
During the 1960 Games, Singh finished second in all of his 400m qualifiers. In the final, he missed the bronze by a whisker, clocking 45.6 seconds.