I Am Kalam is the first feature film produced by a development organization addressing the issue of children’s education in India. The film also made its world debut at the Marche du Cannes (Cannes Film Festival Market section, 2010).
The film is the feature debut of director Nila Madhab Panda, who has produced and directed over 60 documentaries, short films, television drama and films for International and national broadcaster. The film is co-produced by Eleeanora Images in association with Jitendra Mishra (Flair Communications).
The film stars a Delhi-based 12-year-old underprivileged child Harsh Mayar in the lead and French theatre actress Beatrice Ordeix, Gulshan Grover and child actor Hussan Saad.
Grover said, “This film for me holds a very special place because it’s an effort from my end to voice the issue that I have always believed in. This film will definitely help to sensitize the privileged masses to do there bit towards the society. I have done 400 movies so far, Bollywood and International. I did ‘I Am Kalam’ because of an unusual choice of role. There are tender, light and romantic moments in the movie and it is the vulnerability of the character I play which is unusual”
Apart from the various awards and nominations the film has travelled extensively to various film festivals and competitions such as South Asian International Film Festival (SAIFF, USA) Asia Pacific Screen Awards, Giffoni International Film Festival, Italy, 54th BFI Times London Film Festival, 29th Oulu International Children’s and Youth Film Festival, Finland, Kinder Festival, Vienna, Festicinekids Columbia, New York International Children Film Festival, Estonia Children’s Film Festival, The Heartland Film Festival (USA), Youth and Children Film Festival, Poland, Indian Frame Showcase at MAMI (Mumbai International film festival) and the International Film Festival of Kerala.
Mayar said, “I Am Kalam for me was like living my dream in reality. I am has appreciated the work.”
Panda said, “I wanted to send out a message that effort is more powerful then fate and that the privileged masses must join the effort to educate the children and help them to dream and turn their dreams into breathing reality. The film celebrates the survival of the human spirit against overwhelming odds. It is an inspirational film aimed at both children and adult viewers.”
“To make it more interesting I have given the treatment of a contemporary fable, which would surely attract children more. However, I would also see it as a world cinema” he added.