Movie of the Month


Film Title: I Am Kalam

Event No : 29
Date of Screening : 14-February-2015
Venue and Time : Hotel Savera 10 am

Janaki Vishwanathan

Nila Madhab Panda



I am Kalam is the story of a child and his struggles to pursue his dreams and to surpass the boundaries of reality. It is a story of redemption, of the need to provide education to the underclass and to equalize social inequities. Inspired by former Indian President, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, the film was conceptualized after the Right to Education Act was enforced in India. Set in Bikaner, Rajasthan, the film revolves around the struggles of the protagonist – Chhotu, and is symbolic to the struggle of millions of such children in the country and how the civil society looks at the depravity but does not lift a finger to do anything about it.

Language: Hindi
Running Time: 88 min
Release Date: August 5, 2011
Directed by: Nila Madhab Panda
Produced by: Santanu Mishra, Jitendra Mishra
Written by: Sanjay Chauhan, Nila Madhab Panda
Harsh Mayar, Gulshan Grover, Pitobash Tripathy, Beatrice Ordeix
Music by: Abhishek Ray, Madhuparna, Papon, Susmit Bose, Shivji Dholi
Shot by: Mohana Krishna
Edited by: Prashant Nayak

About the Film

This film romanticizes friendships, loneliness, class divides, political borders, ambition, and of course roadside dhaabas in Rajasthan. It is an inspirational tale filled with plenty of endearing & poignant moments throughout with a beautiful message under a basic, sensitive story focusing on Chhotu’s dream of getting educated in a school to become a 'big' man when he grows up. The film features a fabulous performance from, Harsh Mayar, a Delhi slum boy who won the National Film Award for Best Child Artist in 2011 for it. Further it has the well-known Gulshan Grover, in a likeable role and a French tourist Lucy played by Beatrice Ordeix.


  1. The film has won 23 coveted national and international awards from the 40 prestigious film festivals that it travelled to, across the globe
  2. It is a Smile Foundation production and is the first film ever in India to be produced by a development organization
  3. The film was screened in the market section at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival on 12 May 2010


  1. Golden Elephant in Best Screenplay in 17th International children Film Festival, India
  2. Int'l Film Festival of India(IFFI),Goa by Young Jury for Best Feature Film
  3. National Film Award for Best Child Artist 2011 - Harsh Mayar. He won it along with two other children
  4. Lucas Film Festival, Germany for Best Feature Film
  5. Barbican Children's Film Festival, London for Audience Favorite
  6. Cinekid Int'l Film Festival, Amsterdam for Special Mention
  7. Int'l Jury at Ale Kino Int'l Film Festival, Poland for Special Mention
  8. Don Quixote Prize of the International Ciné-Club Federation (ICCF) at the Lucas Film Festival
  9. Special Diploma at Minsk Int'l Film Festival, Listapadzik
  10. Aravindan Award for Best Debutante Director
  11. 57th Filmfare Awards for Best Story to Sanjay Chauhan

About the Director

Nila Madhab Panda is an Indian film director, producer and social activist from Dasharajpur, Odisha.

He has been hailed as a new-age sensation of Indian cinema and his his first feature film, I Am Kalam, has won 24 International awards, one National award, two Industry awards (Film fare and screen) and several nominations, which also travelled over 60 International film festivals.

His other works are Jalpari: The Desert Mermaid (2012), Babloo Happy Hai (2014) and Broken Hills (2014).


About the Guest

Janaki Vishwanathan is an Indian film maker best known for her National Award Winning Debut Film, Kutty (2001) in Tamil which focuses on the issue of child labour. Her movies generally have a lot of sattire and symbolism thereby differentiating from others.

Her second attempt in direction "Kanavu Meippada Vendum" touches upon a sensitive theme of the plights of Devadasi women. Her third venture was in Bollywood with a film named "Yeh Hai Bakrapur" whose hero "Shahrukh" is a goat symbolizing fame, fortune and greed.

A Hardworker that she is, Janaki does not believe in riding on their laurels to churn out one film after another. She instead spaces out the films, focusing her time and energy on the research and preparation of each one.

Reviews after the Screening

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