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Screen stars shower tributes to late Milkha Singh — the Star Of The Track

Milkha Singh and Farhan Akhtar

India lost last night one of its legendary athletes, the Padma Shri awardee, legendary sprinter Milkha Singh. He passed away following a prolonged battle with Covid-19.

Bollywood celebrities including Farhan Akhtar who played the role of Milkha Singh in a biopic on him, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Shah Rukh Khan, and Raveena Tandon among others expressed their heartfelt condolences on the passing away of the sprinter, popularly known as the Flying Sikh.

Singh caught the eye of millions of Indians, when he clocked 45.6 seconds to finish fourth at the 1960 Rome Olympic Games.

Akhtar who played Milkha Singh in the biopic released in 2013 and directed by filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra said: "Dearest Milkha ji, A part of me is still refusing to accept that you are no more. Maybe it’s the stubborn side I inherited from you.. the side that when it sets it’s mind on something, just never gives up. And the truth is that you will always be alive. Because you were more than a large hearted, loving, warm, down to earth man."

The biopic which was a hit, brought to light Singh’s struggles in his professional and personal life before he attained glory.

Akhtar added: "You represented an idea. You represented a dream. You represented (to use your own words) how hard work, honesty and determination can lift a person off his knees and get him to touch the sky. You have touched all our lives. For those who knew you as a father and a friend, it was a blessing. For those who didn’t as a constant source of inspiration and a reminder of humility in success. I love you with all my heart."

Matinee idol, Akshay Kumar expressing his sentiments, tweeted, "Incredibly sad to hear about the demise of #MilkhaSingh ji. The one character I forever regret not playing on-screen! May you have a golden run in heaven, Flying Sikh. Om shanti, Sir"

King Khan and Hindi film superstar Shah Rukh Khan tweeted: "The Flying Sikh may no longer be with us in person but his presence will always be felt and his legacy will remain unmatched… An inspiration to me… an inspiration to millions. Rest in Peace Milkha Singh sir."

Superstar of yesteryears, Amitabh Bachchan said: "In grief.. Milkha Singh passes away.. the pride of India.. a great athlete.. a greater human..Waheguru di Mehr.. prayers."

Actor and popular cine star, Raveena Tandon who had met Singh wrote: "Had the honour of meeting you Sir, you will always have a special place in all our hearts ! Whenever we need to be inspired, “bhaag milkhe bhaag,” will resound in our ears ! Om Shanti."

Actor and son of former Indian cricket captain, Bishan Singh Bedi, Angad Bedi wrote, "Oh waheguru" with broken hearts while his wife Neha Dhupia reposted his Instagram post.

On the other hand, Taapsee Pannu tweeted, "And he flew away."

Rahul Bose wrote, "What a sad day for India, what a sad day for sport. In the long hours I spent with Milkha Sir I was always struck by his fierce determination and his even fiercer generosity. An inspiration, period. Rest in peace, Sir. We mourn deeply. Love to @JeevMilkhaSingh and the family."