London: Farhan Akhtar has been given the seal of approval for his performance as Milkha Singh in ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ by the man himself.

“Farhan has played the part so well, he is almost a duplicate copy of Milkha Singh from every angle. He made me cry,” said the 77-year-old runner.

“India is falling behind today in the field of athletics. That is the reason I wanted this story told so that the coming generation can know about Milkha Singh and all the hard work and sweat that goes into athletics. My hope now is that the gold medal that slipped from my grip in the Rome Olympics, can be won by them in my lifetime,” Milkha said at the gala screening of the film in central London.

He was joined on the red carpet by the film’s lead actors- Akhtar and Sonam Kapoor, as well as director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and writer Prasoon Joshi.

“I think every generation needs reference points and Milkha Singh’s life is a great reference point for young people. His life can be a blueprint at some level – that it can never get tougher than this,” said Akhtar, who trained for months to embody the character of the toned athlete on screen.

‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, which releases worldwide on July 12, traces the story of the sprinter’s life through the vagaries of the Partition of India in 1947, during which his family was brutally killed, to a life of petty crime and his redemption as an Army officer.

“This is not about his gold medal. It is about a lost childhood and the sheer need to live life to the fullest. We all know about the legend but the film explores how he may have lost an important race but won in life,” said Mehra.

“There is a lot of noise in South Asia around cricket and movies and everything else seems to get drowned. That is what makes this film more unique, un-Bollywood and more World cinema. We don’t have answers but just thoughts we can share with the audience,” he added.