Farhan Akhtar was easily one of the most sought-after guests at the Bangalore Literature Festival recently.
Farhan Akhtar was easily one of the most sought-after guests at the Bangalore Literature Festival recently. His arrival with Rakeysh Mehra and Prasoon Joshi was met by a wildly cheering mob, as people grappled with each other for a better glimpse of the star. Was Farhan apprehensive at all, about taking on the role of a legendary athlete “Actually, I wasn’t. But it was a lot of hard work. I spent three months training, there was nothing else on my agenda — no releases or ads — just training. Besides, the people running alongside me were all athletes, I wanted to impress them! My body was just a manifestation of the work I put in.” “At the onset, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is not a biopic,” said Mehra, adding, “I have been influenced by sportspeople like Milkha ji since I was a young boy and as a director, I’m always on the lookout for stories.” For writer Prasoon Joshi, the project seemed an unlikely one. “I’ve never been into sports and I didn’t think I had it in me to write a story like this,” he said, adding, “With Milkha ji, though, it was different. I can write a human story and in Milkha ji’s life, I found a story I could identify with.” Meanwhile, they firmly believe that India really should rid itself of its Oscar fixation. “India produces some beautiful work; Why are we constantly seeking appreciation from the West There is a cultural gap, for starters — we can’t expect them to identify with us. Besides, the best doesn’t necessarily win. The Hunger Games swept the Oscars, but there were many, better films out there. I can name a 100 films in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Bhojpuri that deserve Oscars.”