Follow Australian ultra-runner and politician Pat Farmer on his 4,647km Spirit Of India run, which took him from the southernmost tip of India to its northern border over two gruelling months.
Anupam Sharma’s The Run documents Australian politician Pat Farmer’s 2016 Spirit Of India run – a 4,647km endurance challenge which saw Pat run the equivalent of two marathons a day for two months. Travelling from the nation’s southernmost point to its northern border in support of Australian – Indian relations and educational charities for girls and young women, Sharma’s camera follows the team closely as the challenge unfolds, capturing the relationships, laughs, health scares and frictions as they happen.
As we follow the team, including young and inexperienced publicist Kevin Nguyen, through the beautiful and vibrant landscapes of India and the extreme weather conditions put in their way, they are cheered along on every step of the route by thousands, led by a no-nonsense Farmer. The Run is hilarious, tense and inspirational filmmaking, keeping you with Farmer every painful step of the way.
As an Australian of Indian background I was delighted when Australia’s famous adventurer Pat Farmer approached me to film his run through the length of India. It was more than just a potentially great film, and I lapped up the offer to take a great personal journey, travelling up to 90kms a day for 60 days, and rediscovering my homeland. This would be my own story on screen too.
When Pat shared his passion for running, adventure and India, I was intrigued. When we met his team, who were all going to India for the first time, my intrigue turned into excitement about the storytelling possibilities it would create. Then there was India as a backdrop for Pat and his team’s adventures.
They say that you can put a camera anywhere on a road in India and you will have a story with amazing visuals. This cliché proved to be true. When you have India as a canvas, with all its glorious colours and landscapes, saturating the senses with its smells, sounds, beauty, organised chaos and moments of tranquillity our Director Of Photography Kush Badhwar was a critical ingredient. An Aussie born to Indian parents, he knew exactly what to expect, and his work provides some of the best scenes in the film; Pat lost in a corridor, children taking selfies with him, a spiral staircase, and an empty dining room in the palace with stuffed animal heads on the wall.
With over 200 hours of footage, I struggled for months in the edit to find the heart of our story and I called Pat. During the conversation, I discovered he was working as a labourer. The penny dropped and I had closure: The Run for Pat was the ultimate balancing act. He went from being treated like a Maharaja to working as a labourer. From being a politician to a businessman, making sponsorship deals. He struggling with dehydration and ignored medical advice so he could deliver an inspiring talk to a girls’ school in an Indian village. He endured lonely, long runs, sometimes in excruciating pain. Then celebrated the wins with his crew.
The film includes the many faces of Pat Farmer. It is not about whether Pat will complete the run. I knew I could never portray it as a run to a destination, or as a race, because it was not. This run was actually about the journey. It is an honest film and I sincerely hope that you like the journey The Run will take you on. It should be enjoyed, as we enjoyed soaking in the sights and sounds of India and the many facets of Pat.
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