What it's about: A biopic is never easy to make. How do you fit someone's entire life in a few hours? What parts do you highlight and which slice do you decide to leave out while still staying true to the story? That explains the length of the film, which is over three hours. Rakeysh OmPrakash Mehra gives you more than the story of Milkha Singh the athlete. Most of us have heard his name, but none or very few of us know his story, so this was a story waiting to be heard. Mehra chronicles young Milkha's (Farhan Akhtar) life from a small village (now in Pakistan) to India. Then follows it into youth who falls in love and then joins the army, where he begins his training to become an athlete. BMB is proof that there are intelligent filmmakers makes sensible films for the discerning audience. This is an important film for many reasons. It radiates sincerity and it acknowledges and celebrates one of our heroes.
What's not: It's a sports tale but don't expect a Chak De! India or a Swades. You will find yourself cheering for Milkha a few times but you wish there was more to cheer for. While it is what one would call a semi-documentary, it is in the end, a big budget commercial film and the director somewhere forgets that. This one relies entirely on one man, and though he delivers brilliantly, there are portions when you find yourself wishing the pace would pick up. The editor lets some scenes linger till there is uncomfortable silence for too long and awkward giggling in the theatre. This happens on many occasions like Divya Dutta's breakdown scene when she finds her brother and when Farhan breaks down when he returns home to the house he grew up in. It's not about the length. A film over three hours can keep you entertained throughout. This one loses you somewhere in the second half but then draws you back in.