Review: ‘Budhia Singh – Born to Run’ Nails It From Start to Finish
Biopics in the Bollywood stratosphere are usually a risky affair. There are some exceptions, like the brilliantly crafted Paan Singh Tomar or Neerja, but mostly it likes to sniff out real life stories like MaryKom and Sarabjit and dull them into insignificance.
In Budhia Singh we have another hero, a forgotten one, if you may. Catapulted into the limelight at the tender age of 5, he ran 48 marathons and was poised for greatness – but has since been relegated to the margins. His coach Biranchi Das, who spotted his talent and helped him come out of a life of squalor and hunger, has since been shot dead. He now lives in a government-run sports hostel and is in need of specialised coaching if he wants to regain his lost glory! Soumendra Padhi’s strikingly assured and powerful debut might just be the instrument to get him the attention that he both needs and deserves.
Little Mayur Patole transforms into the 5-year-old running genius Budhia on screen. As the wide-eyed little boy who enthusiastically starts sprinting whenever his “sir” asks him to, he is irresistible. While the film has been loyal to most of the facts, from how his coach (Manoj Bajpayee) accidentally spotted his talent to documenting his much publicised 65-km run from Bhubaneshwar to Puri, the taut script keeps us at the edge of our seats. Masterfully paced and brilliantly conjured, it steers clear from merely regurgitating the details of the little boy’s genius.
At the heart of the film is the relationship between Manoj Bajpayee and his 5-year-old genius find Budhia, and we get to see it in all its magnificent complexity. The selfish love, the blind trust, the unguarded moments of anger and frustration all make the movie come throbbing to life. Manoj belongs to a rare breed, who knows how to work the silent moments well. This film is richer thanks to him.
The ensemble cast is terrific without exception. Tillotama Shome, Gajraj Rao, Chhaya Kadam, and Shruti Marathe all help to add deeper levels of empathy and texture to the movie.
Today, Budhia is suffering as he wages a lone battle against the absurd ban on the one thing that he loves to do – run – and this film from the flag off to the finish line does a fine job of portraying his predicament on screen. Go for it because this is a story that needs to be told and it hasn’t been photoshopped for convenience!
I will give it 4 QUINTS.
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