For Bhaag Milkha Bhaag star Farhan Akhtar, why Usain Bolt is the special one

The actor who is currently working on a boxing-based Bollywood movie titled Toofan, told Olympic Channel he's eager to see Indian pugilists excel at the Tokyo Olympics.

By Utathya Nag and Rahul Venkat

After playing legendary Indian sprinter Milkha Singh in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Bollywood star Farhan Akhtar said he started seeing athletes in a new dimension and the iconic Usain Bolt was the special one.

As a celebrated actor, director, and screenwriter, Farhan Akhtar feels the story of an athlete’s life is unlike any.

“I have been inspired by Usain Bolt. Ian Thorpe is another one. I am also very impressed by gymnasts, especially the US gymnastics team.

“They've been really ruling the roost for a long time,” the 46-year-old Farhan Akhtar told the Olympic Channel.

Farhan, however, reserved special mention for eight-time Olympic gold medallist Bolt.

The Jamaican sprinter, a global icon, won his Olympic medals over the course of three editions of the Games – Beijing 2008, London 2012, and Rio 2016.

“If you look at Usain Bolt’s career, it’s like 10 seconds for 100m races, 10 for relay and 20 for 200m. That’s 40 seconds in each Olympics final. So, 120 seconds of running in [three Olympic] finals.

“His entire career literally comes down to 120 seconds of running. But it’s taken four years of preparations to run each of these 40 seconds. That’s the story. That focus, that hunger to be at the top of your game is just something else,” Farhan Akhtar said.

The Bollywood actor said that if he was to take up a sport professionally, it would have to be running.

“I always enjoyed running during my school days.”

Love for the Olympics

In Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, a movie released in 2013, Farhan Akhtar got to recreate, perhaps, what was India’s most nostalgic performance at the Olympics’ track and field stage – Milkha Singh’s fourth-place finish in the 400m event at Rome 1960.

Milkha Singh with Bhaag Milkha Bhaag actor Farhan Akhtar.
Picture by Farhan Akhtar

But his love affair with the Games, Farhan Akhtar revealed, predates even that. “I still remember watching the Seoul Olympics in 1988. It was the first one I watched.”

The actor has reunited with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (Bhaag Milkha Bhaag director) and is currently working on his next film Toofan – a fictional film based on boxing.

Having got to know a few boxers from close quarters while preparing for Toofan, Farhan Akhtar is eager to see the Indian boxing contingent in action in Tokyo.

Farhan Akhtar is also slated to lead in the biopic on Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma, the astronaut who became the first Indian to travel to space.


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