Movie: Budhia Singh: Born to Run
Starring: Manoj Bajpayee and Mayur Patole
Directed by: Soumendra Padhi
Written By: Soumendra Padhi
Year of Release: 2016
“God’s Gift, Unwrapped by a Coach, ruined by a Country”
Budhia Singh is probably the only biopic on the life of an individual as young as five years. Budhia Singh rose from slums at that tender age to stardom and then was lost in oblivion. Based on a true story and having its intentions in the right place, Budhia Singh is one of those gems that was not marketed in the manner it should have been. These are the stories of the hinterland and are germane to understand the ethos of the country we live in.
As per The Independent, Budhia Singh, was India’s Forrest Gump. As per his coach, he was in all likelihood India’s Olympic medalist for marathon in the recently concluded Rio Olympics 2016.
Budhia Singh, India’s youngest marathon runner ran from Puri to Bhuwaneshwar, covered a distance of 65 kilometers in 7 hours. If that’s not talent, what is?
The story is based in Puri, Orissa. Budhia Singh is born to a family of very humble means. He loses his father at a very young age and his mother sells him to a travelling salesman for a paltry sum.
Biranchi Das, a Judo Coach (played effortlessly by Manoj Bajpayee) rescues the boy. The boy is given medical attention. Later, Biranchi Das provides his own house as a shelter to the boy. During, an impromptu punishment exercise, Biranchi Das realizes that the boy has fantastic stamina for running and could be India’s answer to the world for marathon running.
Soon, the training starts and the young lad starts making strides. The duo aim at bigger things with each marathon Budhia runs. Budhia Singh becomes the toast not only of the town but the State. However, the State Child Welfare Committee terms these marathons as the act of exploitation of Budhia, committed by Biranchi Das in furtherance of his personal ambitions.
Later, Budhia fails to complete the run to Bhuwaneshwar in one single stretch, the boy is tested and the reports of the Government suggest that the boy is anaemic and malnutritioned.
The Government of Orissa imposes a ban on the running of Budhia Singh. In the meanwhile, the slum leader induces Budhia’s mother to file a false physical torture case against Biranchi Das. Biranchi Das is arrested.
We will not reveal the plot further, as in our opinion the ending leaves you parched. Thus, the effect of the climax will be diluted if disclosed earlier.
Written and directed by Soumendra Padhi, the film conveys its message in a very simplistic manner, without getting into any hysterics. The film conveys that personal political goals demolish the larger interests of a nation. Currently, Budhia Singh, could have been on top of his game, had he been allowed to run and practice. The ban exists even today. Sometimes, we let down our country. In this case, the country let itself down. The Child Welfare Committee was nowhere when the child was being tortured in slums. The Child Welfare Committee was nowhere when he required medical attention. Biranchi is not with Budhia today, but his lesson of living with self-respect will always be followed by Budhia.
The performances are all natural. Everybody looks their part and is effortless. Obviously, the film is shouldered on Manoj Bajpayee who has been ably supported by the entire cast. Mayur Patole who plays Budhia Singh deserves a special mention for providing the viewers with the maximum laughs in an otherwise serious film.
One of the best sub-plots is the relationship between Biranchi Das and Budhia Singh. The latter follows his coach like a God and defines a new level of a Teacher-Student relationship. In our opinion, the best scene in the movie is when an angry Manoj Bajpayee asks Budhia to repeat ‘JITNA ROKOGE, UTNA BHAAGOONGA’.
We recommend every sport enthusiast, child, parent, nationalist and politician to watch Budhia Singh: Born to Run. He does not run like India’s another famed runner Milkha Singh but might give you more goosebumps than Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.