Budhia Singh- Born to Run is made on the world’s youngest marathon runner of the same name who turned out to be the favourite child of the shutterbugs, the film tells the tale of the wonder kid who was brought to light by his coach played by National Award winner Manoj Bajpayee.
A Bollywood sports film is usually an awkward creature. It tends to be a loud, lumbering beast prone to melodramatic flab and excessive deification. Mercifully, first-time writer-director Soumendra Padhi’s Budhia Singh – Born to Run isn’t one. It is neither average Bollywood fare nor is it just another sports-themed potboiler designed to magnify the heroics of an achiever.
It does no superfluous huffing and puffing. It instead probes the multiple social and emotional strands, and the dramatic highs and treacherous lows, linked to the incredible true story of Budhia Singh. By age five, the Odisha boy had run nearly 50 marathons under the tutelage of an obsessive coach Biranchi Das. The spotlight of Padhi’s screenplay is as much on the tireless wonder boy as on the dogged man who rescues him from the squalor of a poverty-stricken slum and sets out to groom him for Olympic glory.
The film is clearly and unmistakably born out of a conscience that cares, and cares deeply. There are passages of unostentatious lyricism that runs across the documented drama scampering to blend into the overall fabric. The bond that grows between the little runner and his aggressively committed coach Biranchi Das (Manoj Bajpayee, exceptional) is in many ways representative of the unassuming unconditional affinity that the director shares with his characters.