real life story of a little Oriya boy hit the headlines about ten years ago
when his coach Biranchi Das was accused of stealing Budhia’s childhood by tough-training
him to be a marathon runner. You can
take sides forever. Morally and medically, was it right to make a 5-year-old
run nearly 50 marathons? Was Biranchi an exploitative coach who sought
headlines, a place in the world book of records and maybe a political career
for himself? Or did he genuinely care for Budhia like a parent?
Soumendra Padhi chooses the coach’s perspective. Once you’re comfortable with
that point of view, Manoj Bajpayee takes over the screen and little Budhia’s
life as coach Biranchi Das. The five-year-old’s real father is a drunkard who
locks heads with Biranchi over a political issue. His mother Sukanti is ready
to sell her son irrespective of how much he’s starved or abused. A hole in
their thatched roof forever drips water.
dabbles in local affairs, runs a judo school, owns a couple of businesses, and takes
care of 20-odd orphans along with wife Gita. Budhia is just one more mouth to
feed. The orphans are all well-fed and happy. Too good to be true? But this is
Biranchi’s story and he did discover, hone and bet on the Wonder Boy.
success brings him global attention, some of it unwanted. Like the frumpy
Minister for Child Welfare and her dodgy right hand man who step in to play
Biranchi announces that the boy will run a 70 km stretch, the harassment
includes an eleventh hour demand for a dope test. It makes Budhia the youngest
in the world to be thus tested. The boy is clean and his run begins at 4am.
Kumar Khatoi’s camera captures lovely visuals of dawn and a world slowly waking
up as Budhia runs. A mile long train of vehicles carrying CRPF personnel, a medical
team, the media and the plain curious, follow Budhia. En route it’s festive as crowds
line up to cheer the pride of Orissa.
the dream run is cut short. Politics and his biological parents join hands.
Budhia is declared malnourished, Biranchi is forbidden from making the young
boy run again, the state takes him under its wing. Was Biranchi a victim of
politics or did he get what he deserved?
Manoj Bajpayee gives incredible credibility to Biranchi. Little Pune boy Mayur
Patole is a delight as Budhia. Shruti
Marathe as wife Gita and Tillotama Shome as Budhia’s mother slip easily into
unique story that’s told with cinematic finesse, Budhia Singh Born To Run gets a 3.5* rating.