The Race of My Life

The Race of My Life: An Autobiography is the autobiography of Indian athlete Milkha Singh, coauthored with daughter Sonia Sanwalka.[1][2] The film Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is based on it.

The Race of My Life: An Autobiography
The Race of My Life.jpeg
Coverage page of The Race of My Life
AuthorMilkha Singh with Sonia Sanwalka
SubjectIndian Athlete
Published2013 by Rupa Publications
Pages160 pp (first edition)


Milkha Singh, a Sikh boy born around 1930s,[a] runs against trains for fun. A lot of his family, including his parents, are killed in the Partition of India. After many attempts he is finally able to join the Indian army. Whilst in the army, his athletic skills show. He wins gold medals in the 1958 Asian Games and 1958 Commonwealth Games. After winning the friendly race between India and Pakistan, in 1960, he earns the title of The Flying Sikh by Ayub Khan. However, he loses the bronze medal by fraction of a second at the 1960 Summer Olympics, due to a judgement error on the race track. In 1963, he marries his longtime love Nirmal Kaur, former captain of India's women's volleyball team. In 1971, their son Jeev Milkha Singh is born. Jeev, also a sportsman, became a world class golfer.

Bhaag Milkha BhaagEdit

Singh said that after reading his autobiography, a few Bollywood directors approached him, asking to make a film on his life. Singh's son, Jeev Milkha Singh, decided that the film rights be given to Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. Singh sold the rights for 1, with a clause that 10-15% of the film's profits would be donated to his charitable trust.[3]

Farhan Akhtar starred as Singh, and Sonam Kapoor starred as Biro–inspired by one of Singh's real love interests. Made on a budget of 30 crore,[4] Bhaag Milkha Bhaag grossed 164 crore worldwide. It was one of the highest grossing 2013 Bollywood films.[5]

Of the film and Akhtar's portrayal of him, Singh said "Farhan Akhtar has done a brilliant job. He looked like my duplicate in the movie. The director, too, did a great a job. Also, the dialogues and the lyrics by Prasoon Joshi are brilliant. There was nothing which I felt should be changed in the movie, it was perfect."[3]


IBN Live panned The Race of My Life as disappointing, as they felt that it was "nothing but part of a deal for the movie's production."[6]



  1. ^ There are different records for his birth date. Records in Pakistan note it as November 20, 1929. Other records note it as October 17, 1935 and November 20, 1935. The birthdate is written November 20, 1932, on his passport.


  1. ^ "THE RACE OF MY LIFE: An Autobiography". Rupa Publications. Archived from the original on 2013-07-12. Retrieved 2014-08-07.
  2. ^ "Milkha Singh: 'My God, my religion, my beloved'". Mint, Lounge. 10 July 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Farhan Akhtar looked like my duplicate in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag: Milkha Singh". Indian Express. June 25, 2013. Retrieved 2014-08-07.
  4. ^ "UTV pulls out of 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' for 'Paan Singh Tomar'". Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  5. ^ "Worldwide TOP TEN 2013". Box Office India. 12 December 2013. Archived from the original on January 4, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-07.
  6. ^ Sahni, Jaspreet. "Milkha Singh's 'The Race of My Life' is a disappointing package deal". IBN Live. Retrieved 3 September 2014.


  • Singh, Milkha (2013). The Race of My Life: An Autobiography. Rupa Books.