Legendary Indian sportsman Milkha Singh Tuesday gifted the spikes he wore in 1960 Rome Olympics to actor Farhan Akhtar, hoping that his film "Bhag Milkha Bhag" will be an inspiration to the country's youth.
The Flying Sikh, as he's fondly known, presented the Adidas running shoes as a memento to his on-screen counterpart in Chandigarh in an event on the government college athletics track. Singh, 76, had given the film's rights to director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, at the insistance of his son, golfer Jeev Milkha Singh, "For a princely sum of 1 rupee."
"I want the people to realise that if a man could achieve so much without any facilities, it is sad that after 60 years, no Indian athlete has come up to that level despite much greater facilities. I want that this film inspires thousands of Milkha Singhs in India," he said. "I want the viewers to know about my life and the hardships I had to face," Singh claimed.
Speaking on the occasion, Mehra claimed that his film was not about the triumph of a sportsman on the racetrack, but the "triumph of human spirit against all odds". "When I was young, our swimming coach used to tell us the stories of Milkha Singh's toil and labour on the track. The stories always rejuvenated us and when I learned the story of his life, I knew I had to tell it to the masses," said Mehra.
Akhtar agreed that while the people knew of the success of the great athlete, they hardly knew anything about his life and struggles. "When I read the script, I realised how little we know about him. I will try my best to do justice to the character and story of Milkha Singh," he said. The film, planned to be shot in Punjab, also features Sonam Kapoor.