Chandigarh: Actor-director Farhan Akhtar, who is training hard these days to portray legendary sportsman Milkha Singh "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag", says he is not nervous to portray the icon on the big screen.

Directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, the film also stars Sonam Kapoor in the lead.

"I am lucky to have this role because it's not often that you get to portray an icon on-screen. I am a lot more excited than nervous to take up this challenge... I am training hard for the film and not thinking how big this responsibility is," Farhan said.

"The important thing is to focus on the work that is going on and to get myself physically, emotionally and mentally into the character. The excitement is carrying me through on a lot of levels," said the actor-director.

The film is yet to begin shooting and Farhan admits that it is a challenging role but he does not want to divulge much about his training.

"I am hesitant to discuss too much. It is a part of any character that you play that you need to research and try to get into a good physical condition. This is obviously a little tough because we are trying to portray an extreme athletic but the most crucial thing is to get into the emotional state of mind of the person you are playing," he added.
 
Milkha Singh, also known as the flying Sikh, was the first Indian to represent the country in 1960 Olympics in Rome. He was also awarded the Padma Shri in 1959 for his achievements.

Asked if he is getting any tips from the athlete himself for the role, Farhan said, "Milkhaji came to Priyadarshini park where I do my training and he discussed his style of running, the amount he used to run... Although I have a lot of modern facilities to help me with my training I am trying to actually run on the tracks and follow his kind of regime."

The 38-year-old made his directorial debut in 2001 with blockbuster "Dil Chahta Hai" and went on to make films like "Lakshya" and "Don".

Farhan has an equally well off career as an actor with hits like "Rock On" and "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara".

The actor is not worried that the audience will not be able to relate to the film because of it is set in a different time period.
 
"Emotions cannot be bottled into decade or time periods.

"Gandhi" released many years after Gandhiji passed away and it was a film that was set in the 20's but still it was an inspiring movie... Similarly I think with this film, the emotion is completely timeless.
 
"The message of the film is very important-that hard work is the way to success. It is relevant in today's time because we are so used to our comfortable life. If the story is presented properly then it will always strike a chord," Farhan said.

(Agencies)