Director: Soumendra Padhi
Writer: Soumendra Padhi
Stars: Manoj Bajpayee, Mayur Mahendra Patole, Gajraj Rao, Tillotama Shome
Runtime: 112 min
Genre: Biography, Drama, Sport
Released: 05 Aug 2016
Storyline: A biopic about Budhia Singh, the world’s youngest marathon runner whose story garnered controversy and inspiration around the world.
Review: The National award winning film is based on the controversial true story of Odisha’s wonder boy Budhia Singh (played by Mayur Mahendra Patole) and his mentor Biranchi Das (Manoj Bajpayee), who faces opposition from various quarters for seeing an Olympic dream for the world’s youngest marathon runner.
Budhia Singh (Mayur Patole) is a young boy who is ready to run because that can fetch him a bicycle. Biranchi Das (Manoj Bajpayee) is a coach who is obsessed enough with this boy wonder to give up his family and career to train him. Together, the duo will make history till politics rips their lives apart.
Riddled with extreme poverty, a four-year-old Budhia was sold to a peddler by his mother for Rs 800. Biranchi, a local judo coach, takes the spunky boy under his wing. The child’s running abilities makes Biranchi hopeful that he could be India’s greatest Marathon runner. (Budhia ran from Bhubaneswar to Puri at the age of four covering 65 kilometres in 7 hours). However, the coach faced backlash on ethical grounds for imposing vigorous training practices on the child. The government inquiry, public scrutiny and media circus that followed, clipped the boy’s wings and banned him from running long-distances.
Budhia Singh Born to Run is that rare film, which is a must-watch if you want to understand India and its abject deprivation minus the poverty porn that usually accompanies such depiction. Budhia Singh Born to Run is based on Budhia Singh’s life, a child prodigy who ran a host of marathons as a five-year-old and got ready acclaim. Under the supervision of his coach Biranchi Das, he ran a 70km marathon from Bhubaneswar to Puri in his native Odisha to break records.
But before he can put India on the world sports map, a tussle begins between his coach and the child welfare department. The film is in a run-up to this face-off which will change Budhia’s life and end in his coach’s murder. Manoj plays Biranchi with elan and poise. As the coach who is self-obsessed and politically savvy, he plays Biranchi as essentially human.
Mayur as Budhia is a find and his innocence and raw performance add value to the film. The real applause goes to debutant director Soumendra Padhi who shows the reality of India, warts and all. This is as real as it gets and you need to watch it.