Takes six months off to 'become' Milkha Singh for the biopic on the famous Indian sprinter
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is all set to direct the biopic on India's famous Olympic sprinter Milkha Singh.
And Farhan Akhtar, chosen to play Milkha, has taken six months off from all his other work to prepare physically and emotionally for the challenging role.
Says Rakeysh, "When one is doing a biopic, it's very important for the audience to forget the actor who is playing the real-life character.
People will only see Milkha Singh on screen; they will forget Farhan. We are very fortunate that Farhan has set everything aside to prepare for this role till we start shooting in February next year."
This month, the actor visited the athlete and his family in Punjab. However, Rakeysh clarifies, "He won't copy Milkha, but he will become Milkha. His preparation will be intense.
Farhan is athletic and has long legs, but we're still getting him Olympic trainers and consultants to help him prepare for the role."
The director couldn't be happier with his choice of actor. "I connect with his acting strongly. He comes from the natural school of acting like Balraj Sahni. That's the space I like to work in," he says.
Not many may know this, but Rakeysh had first offered the Aamir Khan starrer Rang De Basanti to Farhan.
"I had seen the actor in him and gave him the script for RDB, but then he was not sure if this was a profession he wanted to pursue. Today, he has blossomed into a fine actor. He's the perfect choice for Milkha Singh."
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, scripted by Prasoon Joshi, will not be a straight-off biopic. "Like Richard Attenborough's Gandhi, my film will be inspired by the biographical character," Mehra adds.