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    Apr 2011

    Default Farhan learns to run the Milkha way

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    It was a bright winter afternoon in Chandigarh. In the midst of a running track at the Government Boys School, sat four men — Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Farhan Akhtar, Vikram Malhotra (COO, Viacom18) and Milkha Singh —with a pair of shoes. And it wasn’t just any ‘shoe’. The pair of sneakers had trod Roman soil. It had almost won India an Olympic bronze, missing it only by a fraction of a second. It was the same pair that the Flying Sikh had worn in the Olympics finals in 1960.
    “I wouldn’t part with it even if someone gave me Rs 10,000 crore,” Milkha had once said and had thus donated the pair of shoes for charity. Filmmaker Mehra had bought it. And on Tuesday afternoon, Milkha was ready to hand over his shoes to the man who is ready to fit into the athlete’s symbolic shoes for Mehra’s upcoming biopic Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.

    However, the pair of shoes had never been meant for stationary events. It had run a thousand miles. And had a million more left in them. So, Milkha and Farhan took to the running track right after the ‘handing over’ ceremony. While all eyes were fixed on Farhan hoping that the actor, who had been busy practising for his role of an athlete, would run a few laps making it a perfect picture opportunity, the Flying Sikh once again surprised all. Milkha took to the track.

    With a shoe in hand, Milkha, who had reportedly been giving Farhan tips on portraying the athlete on the silver screen, started explaining the tricks of running like Milkha. It’s not easy to be Milkha. While the world ran in particular way, Milkha chose to be different. And if Farhan wants to be Milkha Singh, he rather be different too!

    Thus started the training. Try running. You will find your arms swinging back and forth with every leap you take. But not Milkha’s. While his left arm would move back and forth, his right arm would strangely swing sideways. This was the Milkha way of breaking records that many athletes picked up.

    Farhan, who had been an athlete during his school years, thus started practising the Milkha way of running. We waited. Farhan tried. And voila! He got it right.

    Now, Rakeysh Mehra, who was sitting back, watching the two, had an interesting story to tell. We all know how Milkha Singh had sold the story of his life to the filmmaker for Re 1. Mehra, on his part, took efforts to pay him the fee. The filmmaker went out of his way to find a 1960 one-rupee note (considering Milkha ran in the 1960 Olympics). Only when he found one did he pay up. That’s what we call ‘attention to detail’.



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