I am Kalam
‘I am Kalam’ is a delightful movie about Chhotu, a poor child labourer who is inspired by Dr.Kalam. He aspires to reach great heights like Dr.Kalam, and even changes his name to ‘Kalam’. Determined to achieve his dream, he refuses to submit to his poverty and is committed to getting an education.
In this quest to follow his new-found role model, Chhotu leaves no stone unturned. He learns to read using the books of his friend, a young prince named Rannvijay Singh. He writes a poem for a poetry competition at the prince’s school. He even tries to style his hair like Dr.Kalam’s.
During this process, Chhotu’s elders advise him to stop fighting his destiny of being an underprivileged child. He is told that he will never be able to achieve his dreams. However, Chhotu optimistically draws from Dr.Kalam’s words, saying “Kismat koni hoti. Sab karam hota hai.”, meaning “There is nothing called destiny. Our life is determined by our actions.” How Chhotu struggles against the odds of being economically challenged and against the stereotypes stamped on him as a result, forms the rest of the story. What also heartens the viewers, is the friendship between Chhotu and Rannvijay—one that is unconditional and ignorant of their social differences.
The film teaches us that we can shape our future the way we want it to turn out. It rightly captures Dr.Kalam’s motto of daring to dream and following our dreams.
Released in 2011, ‘I am Kalam’ was the debut feature film of director Nila Madhab Panda. The film bagged a National Award and has also won more than 18 awards at several international film festivals.