Manoj Bajapayee's upcoming film, Budhia Singh — Born to Run, is creating waves already.
This sports drama film is the story of Budhia Singh, a child who at the age of five ran 48 marathons including a 65 km marathon from Puri to Bhubhaneshwar in 50 degree centigrade heat within seven hours and two minutes. “India’s youngest marathon runner” made it to the Limca Book of Records after this marathon.
A large part of the biopic's narrative deals with Budhia's relationship with his coach, Biranchi Das, that is played by Manoj Bajpayee. Tillotama Shome will play the mother's role, while child artist Mayur will don the role of the child prodigy.
Budhia Singh had an extremely impoverished upbringing in the slums of Odisha after his father died in 2001. His mother, unable to make ends meet, “sold” the child to a travelling salesman for Rs 800. Budhia’s story took a turn for the surreal when a local judo coach Biranchi Das saw the child being ill-treated by the salesman and “bought” him back. Biranchi took Budhia under his wing, taking care of the boy along with the 20 or so other orphans he and his wife acted as guardians to.
After Budhia came into the spotlight the child welfare department barred him from running marathons, as they thought it was extremely straining on a child of his age. Subsequent events after this lead to the child's downfall and one of India's promising athletes was lost in the crowd.
Directed by Odia filmmaker Soumendra Padhi, the film that releases on 5 August, has already won the National Film Award for Best Children's Film in 2016.
Manoj Bajpayee believes that this film will help Budhia represent India in the Olympics. He has also said that this film will be one of his five best films.
Recently Budhia Singh made it to the news when the ninth standard student was reported missing from the Sports Authority of India's (SAI) hostel in Bhubhaneshwar.