Farhan Akhtar recalls Bhaag Milkha Bhaag director being asked why ‘Punjabi actor’ was not cast: ‘It stayed with me’

Jul 09, 2021 09:57 AM IST

Farhan Akhtar, during a recent interview, talked about a question from the first press conference of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag that he ‘never forgot’.

Farhan Akhtar, who played legendary sprinter Milkha Singh in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, recalled feeling judged at the first media interaction for the film. In a new interview, Farhan remembered how a journalist asked director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra why a ‘Punjabi actor’ was not cast in the film.

Farhan Akhtar in a still from Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.
Farhan Akhtar in a still from Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, which released in 2013, featured Farhan Akhtar in the role of late track star Milkha Singh. The film was a huge box office success and also won the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment.

In an interview with radio host Siddharth Kannan, Farhan was asked about a time when judgments were passed on him. He said, “At the very first press conference that we did for the announcement of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, a journalist asked Rakeysh, ‘How come you cast Farhan in this film? Why didn’t you take some Punjabi actor only? How will he do it?’ Rakeysh, of course, being Rakeysh and he had his belief, answered on my behalf and said why he chose to work with me on Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.”

“But I never forgot that question, it stayed with me. That question honestly fuelled me so much during the making of that film, that why should anyone have this question about someone, firstly, who is an actor and without knowing what it is that they are capable of. From my point of view, it felt like someone is being judgmental not knowing what this person is capable of doing. That gave me a lot of fuel,” he added.

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Farhan said that he has also received a polarising response to his singing - people either ‘absolutely love it’ or ‘absolutely hate it’. He added that at the end of the day, as an artist, he is only responsible to himself. “When you hang up your boots, whenever that time may come, when you are going to look back, what are you going to think? ‘Yaar, karna chahiye tha (I should have done it) but I didn’t do it’. I don’t want to have that feeling,” he said.

Currently, Farhan is gearing up for the release of Toofaan, his second collaboration with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra after Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. Farhan plays a boxer in the film, which is slated for a direct-to-digital release on Amazon Prime Video on July 16.

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