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Interview By: DEVANSHEE SINGH

Soumendra Padhi is making his directorial debut with sports biographical ‘Budhia Singh- Born to run’. We had a quick chat with him about the movie and especially his research.

“We have such a bright story of Budhia Singh but we don't have any support system and resources to take it forward”

What inspired you to tell the story of Budhia Singh to the world?

It began with point of fascination only. Such a small kid, how he can run such massive distances and he gained so much popularity. When I went for research in 2009-10, you ask any random guy, he will show you Budhia Singh’s place. He was that popular. If you look at his backdrop, you will get to know that he stays in Salisai slum. It was supposed to be the largest criminal slum in Orissa. It is in the middle of the city Bhubaneswar. If any theft happened in city, people will be sure that someone from that slum only has done it. This kid came up from that area. It has all the elements of good story. And the Judo coach that is played by Manoj Bajpayee was also the one of the best k Judo coaches. He use to pick up athletically promising kids from the streets and he use to train them for Judo. How they both met and things went ahead was a fascinating tale.

How the research went and how much time it took?

Research took a lot of time because every time you go to Orissa, you will find different version of the story. It was very confusing that whom to believe. People have their own fascination and versions of the story. The child doesn’t remember most of the things what happened at that time because he was very small. And the coach is no more. So, the people who might have bitterness that is also gone out. And also what is there on Internet and what actually happened was contradictory. It’s very confusing. So, we tried to absorb as much material we can and mainly we took material from coach’s wife, journalist Sampat Mohapatro and Dr. Siddhartha Mohanti who covered everything extensively. The people who were around the coach were very nice and correct people. Who will say wrong, this is wrong. That was very helpful.

People have different perception for Biranchi Das. How you decided that how he should be portrayed?

We were very fearless because we had very good actor who is fearless to do all the stuff. We tried to portray him as a human with some flaws, good, bad and everything. But as somebody who had very big ambitions in life. We tried to portray all the layers. We had a good actor,  through him everything came out beautifully.

What was the reason to take Manoj Bajpayee?

If you see all his past work, you can’t bind him in any image. He was ready to give me lot of time for pre-production and he is a very good actor, I knew he will come out with something beautiful. He gave us lot of time and also it was something new for him because he never played coach earlier. The coach Biranchi Das was also very flamboyant, he use to take chances. He was also very fearless.

How you want audience to receive it?

The stories from Orissa and North East don’t come out instinctively. That was strong desire that such story should come out and people should know that such a miracle story existed. Since Olympics is coming, voices should be heard better, I guess. One girl from Orissa Dutee Chand has been qualified for 100 meters run for Rio Olympics. So, all these backdrops helped us to tell the story better. In US, you have more than 100 marathon schools to run and here we have  such a bright story but we don’t have any support system and resources to take it forward.

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