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The challenges of portraying young Milkha Singh
Munish Dhiman  13th Jul 2013

Japtej Singh had to run for an hour daily to train for his role

handigarh's 12-year-old Japtej Singh, who plays young Milkha Singh in the movie Bhag Milkha Bhag has secured strong grounding in his acting career by deftly portraying the Flying Sikh.

Though this is Singh's Bollwood debut, he has experience of acting in Punjabi cinema. A student of Yadavindra Public School, Mohali, this young star is quite different from kids his age. A visibly reserved Singh has starred in Lucky Di Unlucky Story, and has also been featured on a television serial called Chadeya Chann Samundron Paar.

Acting in Bhag Milkha Bhag wasn't an easy task. He had to compete with 5000 kids who were screened at auditions all across the country. "We are really proud of what our son has achieved at this tender age. It takes years to establish a name but people have already started recognising us as his parents and we are really happy, "says Swaran Singh, his father.

After two successful auditions in Chandigarh, the final one took place in Delhi and director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra himself took the final call. "Mr Mehra said he just wanted to find little Milkha in the artist he would cast. And we were really proud when Milkha Singh ji echoed the statement and said that he almost resembles him," adds Swaran Singh.

Talking about his experience, Singh told Guardian20, "I have always been a Farhan Akhtar fan. Working with Farhan sir was really nice. He would always ask me about my studies, my life, and my favourite subjects and interests." He further said, "I came to know better about Milkha Singh after the role was given to me. I read about his life and struggle on the internet and he himself told me several things about his life when I met him in person."

Singh also said "Rakeysh sir told me not to follow any actor and even asked me not to join any acting classes. For this role the only training that I got was for running and swimming. I would run for one hour daily."

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