New Delhi [India], June 19 (ANI): Actor Farhan Akhtar, who portrayed the role of Milkha Singh in the 2013 National Award Winning film 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag', mourned the demise of the legendary athlete.
The demise of the former Indian sprinter came as a bolt from the blue for all his fans. Several celebrities from the Bollywood fraternity expressed grief on the passing away of the legend.
On Saturday, the National award-winning actor, who had spent a good time with the late athlete while shooting for his biopic 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' took to his Twitter handle and wrote, "Dearest Milkha ji, A part of me is still refusing to accept that you are no more. Maybe it's the stubborn side I inherited from you.. the side that when it sets its mind on something, just never gives up. And the truth is that you will always be alive. Because you were more than a large-hearted, loving, warm, down to earth man."
"You represented an idea. You represented a dream. You represented (to use your own words) how hard work, honesty and determination can lift a person off his knees and get him to touch the sky. You have touched all our lives. For those who knew you as a father and a friend, it was a blessing. For those who didn't as a constant source of inspiration and a reminder of humility in success. I love you with all my heart," Farhan added in his tweet.
'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' is a 2013 Indian biographical sports drama film directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra from a script written by Prasoon Joshi. The story is based on the life of legendary Indian Sprinter Milkha Singh, who was a Commonwealth Champion and x2 400m Asian champion and an Olympian.
The movie that stars Farhan Akhtar in the titular role, was declared 'super hit' at the box office and is the sixth highest-grossing 2013 Bollywood film worldwide. It bagged two National Film Awards in the categories- 'Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment' and for 'Best Choreography'. 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' accumulated major accolades under its belt at Film Fare Awards, IIFA and more.
What makes the movie more special is that the legendary athlete and his daughter, Sonia Sanwalka, co-wrote his autobiography, titled 'The Race of My Life'- the book that inspired 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.' Singh sold the film rights for one rupee and inserted a clause stating that a share of the profits would be given to the Milkha Singh Charitable Trust which was founded in 2003 with the aim of assisting poor and needy sportspeople.
On a related note, earlier today, the bereaved family informed about the death of the former Indian Sprinter, also known as the Flying Sikh, in a statement.
"It is with extreme sadness that we would like to inform you that Milkha Singh Ji passed away. He fought hard but God has his ways and it was perhaps true love and companionship that both our mother Nirmal Ji and now Dad have passed away in a matter of 5 days," the family said.
The former Indian sprinter had tested positive for COVID-19 last month and was in isolation at his home in Chandigarh before he was admitted to the ICU of Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) hospital in Chandigarh.
In a statement, PGIMER informed that Milkha Singh was admitted to the ICU of COVID Hospital of PGIMER on June 3.
"He was treated for COVID there till June 13 when after putting up a valiant battle with COVID, Milkha Singh Ji tested negative. However, due to post- Covid complications, he was shifted out of COVID Hospital to medical ICU. But despite the best of efforts by the medical team, Milkha Singh ji could not be retrieved from his critical condition and after a brave fight, he left for his heavenly abode at 11.30 pm on 18th June 2021 here at PGIMER," the Hospital said.
The legendary athlete is a four-time Asian Games gold-medallist and 1958 Commonwealth Games champion. He is still the only Indian athlete to win Gold in the Asian and Commonwealth Championship. He was awarded the Padma Shri, India's fourth-highest civilian honour, in recognition of his sporting achievements.
He is survived by one son and three daughters. His son Jeev Milkha Singh is also a renowned Golfer.
Singh's wife and former Captain of the Indian Women National Volleyball team, Nirmal Milkha Singh succumbed to COVID-19 at the age of 85 on June 13. (ANI)