Suruchi Gupta

Athlete Milkha Singh On Omprakash Mehra’s Biopic… Biopics 3/7

by on Apr.27, 2011, under Interviews

It felt like an honour speaking with this great-great international athlete. That Mr. Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is making a biopic on him is well know. So, as part of the biopic story, I spoke with Mr. Singh, who took out time from his busy schedule to share his thoughts and feelings in a heart-warming telephonic chat. He wished that the interview’s inputs were published elsewhere too, but sadly, I could not make that possible… Read on for what he shared…

Hello sir! …. (after basic introduction)…
In Kolkata people love sports and sportspersons, and I feel very happy when I come to Kolkata. I used to come to Kolkata when Jyoti Basu was around. Not after that. Been many years….

What do you think about movies being made on real life characters… had you thought a movie will be made on you?
I never thought a movie would be made on me. But when people saw that Milkha Singh is a self made man, and how hard he worked with a strong will power, they thought why not make a film on him and inspire the coming generations. Then I was approached by about 2-3 directors. Hari Baweja, Mehra and one more director had come. Someone offered me Rs 1 crore and someone else Rs 1.5 crore for making it. But my son, Jeev Milha Singh, he suggested me (on choosing Mehra). It’s been about 50 years that I’ve seen a movie myself. I saw old films where Dilip Kumar, Ashok Kumar, Raj Kapur, Nargis,  Meena Kumari, Suraiya, Noor Jahan, etc had worked. Whatever films I saw was before 1960. I don’t remember watching a movie after that ever. I don’t know what does the young generation actor work like, who is good, who is not. I hear Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh, ye falana, dhimkana, they are good. Aishwarya, Rani Mukherji, hai falani hai… I keep meeting these daughters. When I had visited the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, these actresses were there with me. They met me, touched my feet… made me feel happy. Some told me about how good they were as actors. who is famous. Who is not. How would I know how good they are, since I don’t watch films.
So, someone offered one and someone 1.5 crore rupees. My son watches a film daily after work at night, young blood hai… when he saw Rang De Basanti he said, ‘we wont take money, as we have all the money we need. But we will give this movie to Rakeysh Mehra only. For one Re 1 only.’ The agreement which was written said that whatever scene will be taken for the movie, it will not be included until I okay it. I wrote that I am giving the movie in Re. 1, but 15-80 % of the profit of the same will go to the Milkha Singh Trust, as I am 82 now, and do’t know when what will happen. I wil not live forever… The trust helps the poor and the family of the dead sportsman, and handicapped sportsman too. Those who need medicines, etc, get that money too. People know that our name is there in CGI in Chandigarh and that the Milkha family helps the needy. I said Rakeysh Mehra that the profit of the film should come to Trust as I may die in another year or two, but our work will stay behind as a memorable work. Just like Anna Hazare is doing such great work. He is such a nice man, never married, or even asked for a cup of tea from anyone (of this last bit of info am not sure!)

(Reason) Number two, this film is being made because the way Milkha worked hard, the pains he suffered as a child, what he saw as a child- family being killed… when I see my life in retrospect, I feel like crying. Where did I begin from and where have I ended up. A kid whose parents die and a kid who has no one, it is such a big thing for such a kid… kaise usne thokren kha ke bhi itne aage ka rasta tay kia… and reached here. If this film does not inspire kids, then there is no point in making it. thus, I told Rakeysh Mehra that the film should be such that it reaches people heart. It should show that if a person has the will power, he can rise from ground and touch the sky.

You are a writer, if you write well, one day 1000’s would know your name. What is your name? (and then I told sir my name, which he wrongly heard Puruchi!) Puruchi bete! I wanna say, that you also become such a writer that all know your name.. otherwise there are 1000’s of writers. Who cares! Write well! See Khushwant Singh. So many have heard of him.

The film is releasing while am alive, by next year. I want it to be such that it reaches all hearts. Make our nation’s name proud.

Did you ever think about sharing your life with others through writing or film?
You dint know but my autobiography is already out. It was in Hindi and Panjabi. It is soon coming out in English now. It’s already ready by now.

Am sorry was not aware… Who has translated it?
My daughter. Malhotra Printing from Delhi is bringing it out.

The film is not being made in one language. But in several languages… the languages of the country I have run at… like Japan, Germany, Russia, they will make the film in these 5-7 languages apart from Hindi. I have run 80 international races and won 77 of them. whichever country I ran in… several races in one country only…

Thanks Sir!

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1 comment for this entry:
  1. vikas

    i dont know how many ppl of our age are aware much of milkha singh but grt job suruchi. this small part of the interview will surely bring motivation in somebody’s life..
    i just remember one quote.. its simple to be happy but difficult to be simple and milkha singh is one of the example of simplicuty.
    thank you.

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