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'Budhia Singh- Born To Run' - a must watch; The Legend Of Michael Mishra and 'Fever' don't impress

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MUMBAI: Budhia Sing- Born To Run is a biopic about a five-year-old lad from Orissa who, at that tender age, hogged the media limelight nationally and created for and against opinions about his promise to someday become a marathon runner of the Olympics standards. At this young age, he showed that kind of talent, stamina and inclination. While the whole of Orissa hailed his strengths making him a hero, the media too basked in the stories of his achievements and relished splashing them. He was the youngest marathon runner.

Manoj Bajpayee runs a sort of Judo school for the homeless and for children from poor background along with the help and support of his wife, Shruti Marathe. Besides training them in self-defense, he also feeds, clothes and houses them under the same roof. That is when he brings along Budhia, played by Mayur Mahendra Patole, to join the rest. Shruti mentions the space constraint but Manoj convinces her saying there are already 22 of them around so one more won’t matter.

Shruti is as enthusiastic about the kids and their wellbeing as Manoj but, while tending to the kids in the house like a mother, she also feels the need for a child of her own.

Budhia is a mischievous child who refuses to take orders from Manoj. As a punishment, Manoj asks him to make rounds of the judo arena until ordered otherwise. Manoj leaves on an errand and forgets all about Budhia till he returns and is informed that the lad has been running since he left without stopping. He has not stopped for water or nourishment nor has he complained.

Manoj realizes that the boy is gifted and has a solid stamina. He sees the potential in the boy to run long distances with little or no demands. The boy lives up to Manoj’s hopes, who sees an Olympic-level marathoner in him and starts training him for 2016 Olympics.

Budhia is full of enthusiasm and small things like an extra share of milk, fruits and a pair of new running shoes in his favourite red besides a promise of a red-colored cycle are enough to propel him to the goals set by Manoj.

Budhia goes on setting new milestones as he starts small and goes on to run a full marathon of 42 kms. The lad is now a media star across India and the toast of Orissa state. But, the controversies follow on the merit of making such a young boy undergo such a strenuous regime and running such long distances. Politicians decide to use the controversy to their advantage.

 Manoj now decides to make Budhia run a 70 kms distance between Puri and Bhubaneshwar. At the event, covered by national and international media and backed by the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force), Budhia almost makes it, collapsing just a few of kilometers before the destination. This incident gives enough fodder to the politicians. Manoj is put behind bars for a while as Budhia is taken to the state sports hostel.

Politics get the better of a budding star.

Despite being a biopic, Budhia Singh - Born To Run has been made interesting on script level starting with keeping Budhia in the centre while changing other players in the story and also rewriting some stuff. Till the end when the politics enters the story, it is more fun as Budhia blends instantly with the other 22 kids in the house and they also accept him as one of their own. No envy is in play when Budhia is given special attention or rations. Budhia’s character is sketched to be stubborn but determined in the goal set by Manoj while also enjoying running.

Direction is taut and competent. Full marks to writer-director Soumendra Padhi. Cinematography complements the concept very well. Dialogue is true to life yet funny. Editing is skilful.

Performances by Manoj and Shruti are seasoned but the one who steals the limelight is Mayur as Budhia; not for a moment do you think he is not the real Budhia. Tillotama Shome supports well along with rest of the cast.

Budhia Singh-Born To Run is a must watch film. With a National Award in its kitty for Best Children’s Film, it does deserve a tax-free tag to help it cater to the kids.

Producers: Gajraj Rao, Subrat Ray, Subhmitra Sen.

Director: Soumendra padhi.

Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Mayur Mahendra Patole, Shruti Marathe, Tillotama Shome,

The Legend Of Michael Mishra –‘Bad’ time story!

Love story is one of the popular genres, especially if backed by good music and a thriving chemistry between the lead pair. While such love stories also work with new stars, the preference by filmmakers has generally tended to popular pairs which have jelled well on screen on a regular basis.

There are teenage love stories and then there are mature love stories. In The Legend Of Michael Mishra, Warsi is Michael Mishra; no explanation given for his mixed identity. And you expect him to portray a comic character. But, a love story of Arshad Warsi? Now that is plain suicidal! The casting is only the beginning, what follows in the name of entertainment is utterly and unbelievably confounding.

There is a town in Bihar where Warsi has graduated to becoming a local don from stitching clothes and retailing mutton. Such a background to sudden transformation as a don makes no sense. The whole town seems to be scared of him including the police, and he lords his way around.

Earlier in his teens, Warsi had fallen in love with a young girl and given her a locket with his picture as a parting gift. One fine day the don remembers his childhood love at first sight and he is determined to find her. All he has to remember her by is the way she said ‘Hello’! The girl grows up to be Aditi Rao Hydari who loved to dance since her childhood. Warsi, always in search of her, lands up at a “Bihar’s got talent” kind of show where she is putting on a dance show.

Warsi finds out where she lives and shifts into the same housing complex to be close to her. Soon, the sign language exchange of love messages starts flying between the two, later turning into written messages. As Warsi professes his love for her, a reply comes saying he must change his ways before she contemplates his proposal. Warsi, whom no police dare touch, gives himself up to the police.

As happens in all such films, Warsi is welcomed to the jail by veteran jailbirds who gang up against him and get him into a fight. However, the don in Warsi comes to the fore and he licks all the goons. But, he still has the jailor to contend with and he is one tough cookie. Again, as used to happen in last-century’s films, Warsi saves the jailor from a tough situation and the jailor becomes his sympathizer!

The jailor hears Warsi’s love story and advises him to escapes from the jail which, according to him, was the only way he could find his love. Warsi duly obliges. So much for paying for his crimes and taking to the honest way of life!

When Warsi comes back to Hydari, it turns out that all that messaging was not meant for him; it was for the lad staying above him! Warsi is heartbroken but Hydari changes tracks to soon profess her love for him—she loved him from the time he gifted her the locket which she has completed by adding her own picture on the other side of Warsi’s picture!

The Legend Of Michael Mishra has no story, script or sense of any sort. Nothing to be said about the direction and other aspects, all of which amount to zilch.

The Legend Of Michael Mishra is filmmaking at its worst.

Producers: Kishor Arora, Shareen Mantri.

Director: Manish Jha.

Cast: Arshad Warsi, Aditi Rao Hydari, Kayoze Irani, Boman Irani, Yuri Suri

Fever….If you watch it!

Fever is a suspense thriller with its claim to recognition being two foreign female actors gracing its cast. These foreign actors being ex James Bond star, Caterina Murino, and a British TV actor, Gemma Atkinson, are supposed to give the film some draw! Besides that, the film is sought to be made to look like one out of Hollywood with a subject to match. The film is shot extensively on the picturesque locations of Switzerland.

Rajeev Khandelwal is lying in a hospital with most of his memory lost. His amnesia is total except that he remembers his name that he is from Paris and the visuals of a murder that haunt him. Soon he meets Gauhar Khan and he tries to piece together his past.

As it turns out, Rajeev is a contract killer as efficient with guns as he is in his approach with women. While Rajeev tries to recall his past, he demonstrates his memory loss with long drawn pauses to talk about it. Also, while recalling his past, he comes up with what is supposed to be the USB of this film that is steamy sex scenes with women in his life.

When inspired by numerous past masters of the suspense thriller genre, better would be to just stay inspired and not pick their props and treatment. While many have tried to create a really thrilling script of the suspense genere in past many decades among Hindi filmmakers, here too the attempt is bland and falls flat. Direction is average in keeping with the script. Music is soothing and would have worked had the film worked. The cinematography is a plus considering the film has beautiful locales to shoot at.

Performances are purely functional with Rajeev doing okay. The two foreigner actors contribute nothing to this department. Gauhar is passable.

Fever has had a poor opening and is expected to remain so through rest of the week.

Producers: Ravi Agrawal, Mahesh Balekundri, Ajay Chabbria and Rajath Manjunath.

Director: Rajeev Jhaveri.

 Cast: Rajeev Khandelwal, Gauhar Khan, Gemma Atkinson, Caterina Murino,

Ankita Makwana.

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