The Right to Education found an unusual ally in Bollywood's seasoned villain Gulshan Grover at the ongoing International Film Festival of India here on Wednesday.

The actor, known for his Bad Man image, made a strong plea for every child's right to free and compulsory education, while delivering a speech on ‘I am Kalam,' a film directed by Nila Madhab Panda and which has been doing the rounds of festival circuit across the world.

Duty of artistes

“Every child has the right to get educated irrespective of circumstances,” Mr. Grover said, adding that “it is the duty of every artiste to give back to society in some measure or the other.”

Stating that his choosing to act in the film was his way of doing this, he said: “I did the film knowing there will be no financial gains, but the principle of every child going to school struck me as very noble and I said a yes.”

Mr. Grover, who has otherwise been concentrating on foreign films, said, ‘I am Kalam' is close to my heart. I want to send a message through the film.”

Some 60 million children fail to attend school due to reasons ranging from acute poverty to absence of infrastructure. Through the film, which has created great interest at IFFI, an attempt has been made to spread awareness about children's education. Though it has won numerous international honours, it has not been released commercially.

Up to the public

Mr. Grover said: “We have tried to give a meaningful film. It is up to the public now to appreciate it, as it has not been made with the purpose of making profit. The proceeds will go into making the life of children better.”

Shot in Rajasthan, the film is likely to be screened in schools in villages and panchayats shortly. It has been produced by the Smile Foundation, which bagged an Oscar last year for its film ‘Smile Pinky.'

Keywords: IFFI 2010