Smile Foundation's ‘I am Kalam' to premiere at Cannes

“I t is essential that we enlighten and create widespread awareness on education among all sections of society, particularly in rural areas and among the urban poor.” This statement by former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam sparked the idea of I am Kalam, an 87-minute Hindi feature film. A production of Smile Foundation and Eleeanora Images Private Limited, I Am Kalam, with a whopping budget of 1.2 crore, will make its world premiere at the 63rdCannes Film Festival starting May 12.

The film's producer and director, Nila Madhab Panda, who has to his credit over 60 short films, documentaries, television dramas and films for the BBC, Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channel, now makes his “feature film debut” with the film. Among others, Panda has brought together an interesting star cast which includes Harsh Mayar, a boy from a Delhi slum in the title role of Chhotu, a dhaba worker. Veteran Bollywood actor Gulshan Grover plays Bhati, the dhaba owner, and child actor Hussan Saad of Delhi 6 fame plays Prince Ranvijay. It also features French actress Beatrice Ordeix.

The film, shot in Bikaner, Rajasthan, highlights the issue of millions of underprivileged people in this country who are deprived of education. It also shows how the privileged class can play a role in their uplift.