Budhia Singh : The Forgotten Hero

“ Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run”

Budhia Singh : Born to Run is a 2016 biographical sports film based on the life of the youngest marathon runner in the world in tandem with social commentary on how politics , corruption and media in nexus cut off the aspiration wings of a young boy destined for glory.

Once Upon a Time in Orissa

The movie starts with a stark Slumdog Millionaire-esque display of poverty . Born in extreme penury , Budhia is sold off at an early age of 2 by her mother to an exploitative trafficker only to be rescued later by Biranchi Das , a local judo coach and orphanage operator , thankfully.

The Curious Case of Talent Discovery

Story goes that as a punishment for indolence , Biranchi penalised Budhia to run around the judo arena and soon left owing to some urgent work. When he returned after hours , to his surprise , Budhia was still in the act and running without showing any signs of lethargy. Biranchi checked his pulse rate and immediately took him for a medical checkup — surprisingly , all health checks were found to be normal and this marked the beginning of the marathon career for the India’s Forrest Gump.

India’s Flying Circus

Soon Budhia was all over the news and marathon arena as he started to participate in more and more running events. However , what brought him in limelight was the ambitious run from Puri to Bhubaneshwar (almost 40 miles) at the mere age of four. While media lambasted his coach, Biranchi , and labelled him as power and money hungry villain keen on exploiting Budhia for his own personal gains ; In the end , determination emerged the winner with kid shocking everyone and Biranchi having the last laugh. It subsequently led to Budhia being listed as the world’s youngest marathon runner in the Limca Book of Records.

However , what followed was a pure political pandemonium and chaos marked by Child Welfare Board inquiries , Media Coverage of controveries including negative portrayal of coach & numerous debates and discourses on Child Exploitation. Politics , in the end , became successful in clipping the young kid’s ambitious wings to deny him the opportunity to ever run long distances again. In another tragic turn of events , Biranchi Das was shot dead outside his house by a local gangster and thus ended the career of one of the most promising coaches of all time.

The Basic Ingredients of Celluloid

The cinematography is top-notch — wide shots of Budhia running on beachside will surely take your breath away . Mayur Patole , the youngster picked from Pune’s slum, who was shortlisted from over 3k kids, did an amazing job with Budhia’s depiction. The rustic rawness in character is worth appreciating. ‘Haga aur bhaga’ (shat and ran) as a response to teacher’s question is undoubtedly one of the best one-liners in Bollywood industry so far. Manoj Bajpayee shines yet again with exemplary portrayal of Biranchi Das on screen. Director Soumendra Padhi deserves a standing ovation for this epic — the film won national award for best children’s film at the 63rd National Film Awards.

The Bad , the Worse and the Ugly

“He cannot even win his school race these days. Budhia used to run for kilometres. But his coach never tested his ability with other sprinters before he was shoved into the sports hostel… His future doesn’t look promising,”

The movie ends on a poignant and introspective note with the murder of one of the most propitious talents that could have blossomed into perchance , an Olympic Medal .

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