Being a runner himself, Manoj Bajpayee plays a coach in his upcoming film that’s based on the tragic life of a young marathoner. In a candid chat with Viraj Sawant he tells why there’s a need for someone to pick out talent from the most unexpected corners of India.
Talking about your upcoming film, BUDHIA SINGH: BORN TO RUN, did you know about the controversy when it happened or you got to know of it after you got the film?
I followed the story when the Budhia issue happened. Even while watching it in news or reading about it in the newspaper, I found Biranchi very interesting. I was lucky the role fell into my lap.
Did you get to meet the real Budhia Singh?
I met Budhia a week back. He is not running now or competing in races because he was taken away from Biranchi Das. Biranchi Das rubbed many people the wrong way. On his journey of making Budhia a great marathoner, he made too many enemies. Budhia was put in a hostel and there were too many children there and he did not get the sufficient attention. Then Biranchi Das was shot dead.
How did you research about Biranchi Das since he was killed eight years back?
A lot has been written about Biranchi also. He was in the news for a lot of time back then. He was somebody who was driving the whole movement for Budhia. If you look at the story after Budhia was taken away from Biranchi, hardly anything happened for him. So basically a lot of things happened only when Biranchi was around and with Budhia. We have tried to cover all the major events that happened during those days.
Did you undergo some sort of physical training to play a Judo and a running coach?
I am a passionate runner anyway. How much ever busy I am, I don’t compromise on my running. I had to go through a brief introduction for Judo. Biranchi Das was a Judo coach. So I learnt the basics of it for the film.
The film looks like it’s about the tragic story of a young prodigy. Will the film promote the sport as well?
It will definitely promote the sport. Running is a sport that’s not much into the spotlight. Also more importantly, we need to keep our eyes open to pick out talent from the most unlikely places. It’s sad that we miss out on so many young talented sportsmen just because they live in villages or are underprivileged and staying in slums and chawls. We miss out on a lot of sportsmen that way. Everybody is ignorant but nobody wants to play the hawk. They want talent to walk upto the Olympic stadium and win the medal. But someone needs to take the pains of finding or looking for talent.