Movie on India’s lost athlete kid Budhia Singh to be released this year
Once India got its talent! Not in cricket, not in football even not in any other team games. A child athlete took the world by surprise when he ran a record-breaking 65 km from Puri to Bhubaneswar in 2006. The run was started at 6 pm and ended around 2 pm made a four-year-old boy dominate the front page of a newspaper, the cover page of the magazine and prime time of the news channel.
The story of Odisha boy Budhia Singh, who found his name in Limca book of records, is nothing short of a Bollywood movie. The overnight star, who was regarded as the next Milkha Singh, suddenly vanished from the limelight after 2007. Almost as suddenly as he had appeared.
In the last eight years, the state has the rise and fall of many athletes, including current national women’s 100-meter champion Dutee Chand and fell, but people forget the little boy Budhia.
So, now where is the wonder kid of India?
Budhia was once considered as the future of Indian athletics, now 13 years old, just like any other children at the Kalinga stadium hostel in Bhuvneshwar. He still gets up at 6 am but does not run for kilometers anymore. Hours of rigorous training have reduced to 1-2 hours conditional training per day.
Budhia was born in a poor family. His mother sold for Rs 800 to a vendor. His coach Biranchi coach, who was judo trainer rescued the boy and trained. Das had noticed Budhia’s ability to run for long periods. Budhia had participated as many as 48 marathons till 2007.
Das’ tough training session came under media scanner. Within few months, the Child welfare organization barred Budhia from participating in the Marathon and sent him to the sports hostel.
The teenager still dreams for an Olympics medal-something he and his coach Biranchi Das, who was murdered in 2008, had once dreamt together.
The journalist, who first revealed the news about Budhia said, “Olympics? Well, he cannot even win his school race these days.”
Nowadays, Budhia’s life confined in school, homework and training after being separated from Das in 2007 over an allegation of exploitation against the latter, Budhia can’t even recollect how the feat had unfolded around a decade back.
“All I can remember is I had started running at 6am from Puri and reached the capital at 2pm. Rest I can’t recall,” Budhia told HT from DAV Public School, Chandrasekharpur in the state capital, where he has been studying since kindergarten under the state government’s sponsorship.
Even his hostel coach, Rupanwita Panda, believes there is nothing special about him and it is too early to think about even the national games.
But, why did Budhia failed to live up to the expectation?
“I was trained for a marathon by my coach. But at the hostel, I am being trained for the 100-200-metre race,” said Budhia, adding that he still misses Das.
Mohapatra, who carried out the story of the young athlete since his first milestone, believes
Mohapatra, who has covered the story of the young athlete since his first milestone, believes the problem is much deeper than what meets the eyes.
“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,” he said.
The story of rags to riches and then back to square one has prompted Odisha-based film-maker Soumendra Padhi to make a biopic Duronto on the young runner. The movie, starring Manoj Bajpayee as Das and child artiste Mayur as Budhia, is expected to release later this year.
“It’s in post-production right now… People should know the story of this amazing boy and there can’t a better way than to show him on the silver screen. Not only the government, but our society is also responsible for not recognising such a rare talent,” said Padhi.