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I Am Kalam (2010)

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An impoverished boy forms an unlikely and unstable friendship with the lonely son of a nobleman.



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Credited cast:
Harsh Mayar ...
Chhotu / Kalam
Hussan Saad ...
Kunver Ranvijay Singh
Beatrice Ordeix ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Suresh Acharya ...
Lakha's Assistant
Baby ...
Chhotu's Sister
Biswajeet Bal ...
Sukha Singh
Rajat Bhalla ...
Police Havaldar
Garima Bharadwaj ...
Rani Sa
Sanjay Chauhan ...
Raja Rudra Pratap Singh (as Sanjay Chouhan)
S.D. Chouhan ...
Ranvijay's Servant
Zulica Fito Cia ...
Foreigh Artist 9
Ayelet Cohen ...
Foreigh Artist 6
Karin Fitoussi ...
Foreigh Artist 5


The film celebrates the survival of the human spirit against overwhelming odds and highlights the need for underprivileged children's education. Its a film based on former indian president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and is aimed at inspiring the poor to educate their children. Written by DaGambit

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Comedy | Drama



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5 August 2011 (India)  »

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A heart warming eye opener to a poignant societal problem
21 December 2011 | by (India) – See all my reviews

India is considered as third world country and the reason is justified with over 70% population below the economic level. Whenever we move out in the open we tend to forcefully ignore the scenario. As passerby we observe little kid working in tea stalls to meet their day's meal. Rarely one bother to feel for him, his wish and needs. Even being ignored they tend to build their own world of dreams and live optimistically. This year two brilliant cinema dealt with those kids for whom the world hardly cares – "Stanley Ka dabba" and then this week release "I am Kalam". Both the films are very different in their execution but both sensitively dealt with the issue of Child labor, a poignant problem of his otherwise "prosperous" nation. It also reflects that the young generation is more responsible and sensible than the orthodox old ones and they have the power to build the nation through their liberal views.

The film directed by Nila Madhab Panda straightaway comes to the point without beating around the bushes. It introduces Chotu (one of the best child performances in recent times by national award winner Harsh Mayar) who comes with his single mother to the town to earn for living. While on the way the bright eyes of Chotu stares earnestly at the school bus and the uniformed kids.It seemed the whole audience in the theater desperately wanted to see his dream fulfilled. His mother left him in arms of his distant Bhatti Mamosa meaning uncle (a superlative performance by Gulshan Grover) who owns a tea-stall and serves tea to the nearby Haveli (King's palace) and the surrounding hotels where the foreign tourists are lodged. Chotu remains true to his claims picks it up instantly whatever he see, be it making world class tea or understanding the small nuances which are liked by the foreign tourists. Sooner he becomes the blue eyed boy for Mamosa and the foreign tourists.So much so that the filmy bug Laptan (worth mentioning performance by Pitobash) who is the other assistant in Bhatti's shop started becoming jealous of him. Amidst all this Chotu become friends with Kumar Sahab, the prince of the haveli. Chotu also aspires to become like President Kalam and thus starts the heartwarming journey of education and friendship. Even he calls himself Kalam and copied Dr Kalam's hairstyle.

Already the film has received national and international awards and acclaims before hitting the silver screen. Indeed the film rightly deserves the accolades it is receiving. Debutant director Nila Madhab Panda knows his craft and with co-writer Sanjay Chauhan they created magic on screen. The character of Chotu aka Kalam is written with utmost sensibilities. The way his intelligence is gradually depicted is noteworthy. It is not only a tale about education but also about friendship and changing mindset. The director first created an invisible mirror to showcase some stark contradiction in the society by the way he depicted the scenes of Chotu and Kumar Sahab. Chotu trying to read under the street lights while Kumar Sahab is at his luxurious best. The contradiction is depicted and it ends there only. The rest is a heart warming tale of two young bright boys who are mutually exchanging education in their own ways. While Chotu is teaching Kumar Sahab Hindi the same is happening other way round and thus build a strong bond of trust. The writers carefully tried to capture the changing mindset of young generation and the stagnating mindset of the older one as the king plays chess leisurely and talks about "time" flowing by. While on one hand the king believes in kismet (destiny) the Kumar (prince) rightly retaliates by pointing that "karma" (deed) is bigger and thereby showing the liberal new generation. The way Kumar goes against his father's orders by becoming friends with a low caste guy it shows the strength of his character. And similarly for Chotu who didn't befriend Kumar as he saves him in the pre-climax. Without telling the climax the directors successfully portrayed the need for changing mindset which will change the future generation. Harsh Mayar as Chotu or Kalam is a spontaneous performer and was given a deserving national award for his realistic performance. He is one of the best child actors in the business. His performance was so earnest that every audience in the theater stood for a standing ovation as the end credit roles. Gulshan Grover sheds his bad man image and molded himself with ease as he plays the kind hearted Bhatti. French actress Beatrice Ordeix did a splendid job as Lucy, the benevolent tourist who feels for Chotu. Pitobash (after his marvelous performance in Shor in the City) excels in the role of Laptan.The jealousy within him was reflected in each expression of his. Hussan Saad is also talented and quiet confidently plays the role of Kumar Ranvijay. The supporting castes with less known faces gave commendable performances. Technically speaking the landscape of Rajasthan is captured with picturesque perfection by Mohan Krishna whose debut in Ishqiya was also worth mentioning. Prashant Naik craftsmanship as editor needs mention for his flawless juxtaposition of frames. Music composer Abhishek Ray did his job well whose music had the local flavor in it. There is a sequence where different person starts playing different instruments with a mellifluous amalgamation of music of both east and west. On the whole I Am Kalam is a fine piece of art which has its heart and soul in the right place. SMILE foundation needs to be applauded for producing this film and taking the issue to an elevated level. With changing mindset of people one hopes more will contribute to child education thus witnessing a far more developed India in coming years. Hope movies like I am Kalam will change the mindset of those audiences who are watching it and they would eagerly take the cause forward. Cheers to whole team of I Am Kalam.

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