Reviewers feel that Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's film explores Farhan Akhtar's acting skills like never before. The film is a first on the legendary sprinter and hence expectations were high, but it doesn't quite deliver.
Most critics care for the film but there are flaws which haven't gone unnoticed.
Prasoon Joshi is mostly appreciated. Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama says, "The writer comes up with an incredible script that keeps you hooked from commencement to conclusion."
Saurabh Dwivedi of India Today too is awed. "Prasoon Joshi's script reaffirms the belief that when a poet narrates a story, it feels as if the story is full of emotion."
But Mihir Fadnavis of First Post finds the script below the mark: "Despite Akhtar's charming screen presence and admittedly impressive dedication, it's a losing battle with a plot this clichéd, a script this underwhelming and truly woeful direction that makes you yearn for the assured hand of Shimit Amin."
While Farhan Akhtar's acting chops get showered with yays, director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra not so much.
Mayank Shekhar says, "At the centre of it all of course is Farhan Akhtar, 39-year-old movie polymath, in Milkha's long hair, beard and buck tooth, fast and fit, sweating it out on dusty and synthetic tracks, convincingly clocking the same speed that you would expect from a passionate, professional athlete".
About direction, Saibal Chaterjee of NDTV notes, "The overlong Bhaag Milkha Bhaag seeks to achieve a dramatic heightening of the effect of a champion athlete's rousing struggle to break free from the traumas of the past and turn adversity to opportunity. In the bargain, it reduces the human saga to a loud, melodramatic and over-wrought tale that overstays its welcome".
Chaterjee adds: "That is not to say that Bhaag Milkha Bhaag isn't a competently made film. It is the high pitch of the narrative that is often distractingly raspy."
"Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is shabbily filmed and poorly acted, its lone positive is a thoroughly awful performance by Dilip Tahil whose hamming caricature of Pandit Nehru is the most unintentionally hilarious turn you'll see this year", Fadnavis quips.
Film clearly doesn't run (pun intended) at 3-hours-7-minutes of length. Saurabh Dwivedi says, "Some scenes in the first half could have been easily removed, but perhaps filmmaker's stubbornness and his attachment with everything becomes evident".
Apart from the lead actor, Prakash Raj (as a no-nonsense military man) and Pavan Malhotra (as the army coach who groomed Milkha) too have got good press.
The crowning glory of this one is clearly Farhan Akhtar's impressive sprint.