Divya Dutta, who played one of the most significant parts in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, recently revealed that she had said no to the movie at first because she had a “huge crush” on Farhan Akhtar. In a recent interview, Divya shared that when she was offered the role, she said no because she did not want to play his sister.
She told Pinkvilla, “I wasn’t doing it because I had a huge crush on Farhan at that time. I said, ‘Why should I play his sister?’ Rakeysh said but you are an actor, you are a professional. I said yeah but… you know…” The actor added that the filmmaker then told her that it was a brother-sister story.
Divya Dutta recalled that when she was supposed to start shooting for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, she reached the location one day prior and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra asked her to come to the set. When she reached, Rakeysh tapped on someone’s shoulder and when he turned, Divya was shocked to see that it was Farhan. “He turned and I said, ‘This is not Farhan at all. This is Milkha,’” she recalled and complimented his transformation.
Mehra, in his memoir The Stranger In The Mirror, wrote that Divya was his “first and last choice” for the role. He also wrote, “I am blessed that I was able to reimagine the stereotypical sister who is rarely more than an insignificant prop or object of pity for the protagonist via my role in the film.”
Divya Dutta remembered another moment from the shoot where Milkha brings gold earrings for her character. Divya said that while performing the scene, she kept thinking about its end and when she saluted him towards the end, the entire unit got emotional and shared a group hug.
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag won several awards and was also honoured with two National Film Awards – Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment and Best Choreography.