'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' shortened for global release

Mumbai, Aug 18 (IANS) Director-producer Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has shortened "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag" (BMB) for its international release. He has reduced the playing-time of the biopic by 30 minutes and said the new version is suitable for a no-interval format.

Everyone loved everything about "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag", a film that chronicles the rise of Olympian athlete Milkha Singh, also known as Flying Sikh. The only area of quibble was the inordinate length of three-hour-and-10-minute. And that has now been taken care of.

Since there were no clearly demarcated areas in the narration that could be pruned down, and the songs carried the plot forward, Mehra and the film's editor P.S. Bharathi went through the process of looking through the entire footage to zero-in on individual shots and scenes where the verbal exchange could be reduced.

An arduous and challenging task -- but the job is now done.

The decision comes as a surprise considering Mehra maintained that the story had to be told within the time-frame afforded by the script.

Said Mehra: "Bharathi and I haven't forced cuts into the narration. We wanted to bring the length down to a no-interval format, since there is no tradition of breaking a film into two halves in the West. To eliminate the interval-point for the international version, we had to re-edit the film."

At the home front, the film opened to positive response and if the viewers relished the narration, they thoroughly appreciated Farhan Akhtar's endeavour to play Milkha convincingly in the successful movie, which raked in approximately Rs.55 crore in the first week.

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