Late Milkha Singh had just taken one rupee from director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra to allow him to make a film on his life. The biopic, titled Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, featured Farhan Akhtar in the title role. What’s special about the one rupee note was that it was printed in 1958, the year when the athlete won the first gold medal for independent India in the Commonwealth Games.
“We wanted to give a priceless token of appreciation to Milkha ji for letting us tell his story through our film. We looked for something special for a very long time. Then we finally ended up sourcing a special Rs 1 currency note that was printed in 1958,” Rajiv Tandon, CEO, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra Pictures Pvt. Ltd, had said in a statement.
The relevance of the note was that “in 1958 independent India won its first gold medal in Commonwealth Games because of Milkhaji and he also won two gold medals in Asian Games.” Money was not Milkha Singh’s priority — he only wanted Mehra to make the film.
The legendary athlete wanted that his biopic should be made in such a way that it inspired more youngsters to earn medals in athletics. Singh had also inserted a clause in the project, stating that a share of the profits would be given to the Milkha Singh Charitable Trust, founded in 2003 with the aim of helping poor and needy sportspeople. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag was one of the biggest blockbusters of 2013 and garnered acclaim from critics and audiences alike.