Meet the real-life Vijay Barse whose story inspired Amitabh Bachchan & Nagraj Manjule’s Jhund

jhund starring Amitabh Bachchan has been creating quite the stir ever since its release on the 4th of March. Directed by Nagraj Manjule, the biographical sports drama follows the story of a football coach named Vijay Barse, who teaches the sport to children and youth living in slums. The film has been garnering appreciation from critics and viewers alike. But, how much do you know about the story of the man who inspired Big B’s character – the real-life Vijay Barse? Well, freight not. We have got you covered. Read on to know about his extraordinary journey.

In 2014, Vijay Barse detailed his story on the first episode of the third season of Aamir Khan’s television show, Satyameva Jayate, where he featured as a speaker. Barse shared that he was a sports teacher in Nagpur’s Hislop College. One fine day in 2001, he saw a few children from the slum playing in the rain as they kicked a broken bucket. That’s when he gave them a football. Another time, he saw a group of children kicking around a tennis ball. That’s when it hit Barse – as long as the children are on the fields, they are away from forming any bad habits.

After this realization, in 2002, Vijay Barse invited the slum children to a playground, which became popular as Slum Soccer. He named the club Zopadpatti Football. In his Tedx talk, Barse stated, “I knew that all players came from living in zopadpatti/slums, and I have to work for them only so I must continue this name.” With Slum Soccer, Barse focused on the rehabilitation of slum children along with providing them with training in soccer.

Slum Soccer continued growing in size and it became more and more popular with time. Matches were held at city and district levels and the media covered them as well. Once, it so happened, that Vijay’s son who was in the United States at that time, came across an article about his father in an American newspaper. That’s when he returned from the US to help his father in his cause.

After his retirement, Vijay Barse founded the Krida Vikas Sanstha Nagpur (KSVN) with Rs 18 lakhs. It functioned as the parent organization of Slum Soccer and focused on conducting football tournaments and providing several opportunities to the underprivileged. Barse founded the organization with help of his wife Ranjana Barse and son Abhijeet Barse.

In 2007, the national tournament of Slum Soccer was covered by the esteemed BBC. Post this, Barse was invited to Cape Town, South Africa, where he met none other than Nelson Mandela at the Homeless World Cup. Recalling his meeting with Mandela, Barse said, “I received the biggest recognition for my work that day when he put a hand on me and said, ‘My son, you’re doing a great job’”

In 2012, Vijay Barse was honored with the Real Hero Award by Sachin Tendulkar for his relentless and selfless work in discovering, empowering, and nurturing football talent from the underprivileged section of society. In 2016, his NGO, Slum Soccer, was felicitated with several awards like the FIFA Diversity Award, FICCI India Sports Award, and Manthan eNGO Award. In 2016, Vijay Barse was honored with the Nagbhushan Award.

Thus, this is the story about Vijay Barse’s perseverance and selfless contribution to the development of the slum kids.

Talking about the film, Jhund marks Nagraj Popatrao Manjule‘s first Hindi-language directorial. The movie has been bankrolled under the banners of T-Series, Tandav Films Entertainment, and Aatpat.

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