By Nilesh P. Khandare(28 Jul 2011)
"I am Kalam" the story of a child, his struggles to pursue his dreams and to surpass the boundaries of reality, is a celebration of the human spirit pitted against overwhelming odds. It's a story that might have belonged to any developing country. Focusing on child labour, its exploitative structure and thoughtless individual - who aim at profiting at cheap labour. The Indian system where love and oppression coexist, still continues today. In India people rise from the ashes to reach various pinnacle of achievement, a case particularly exemplified by the former president of India, Dr. APAJ Abdul Kalam. The child protagonist of the film, Chotu, starts his life as a skivvy in a roadside food joint in a remote highway.
In spite of being born into abject poverty, Chhotu an inventive child with a cheerful disposition does not let his grim circumstances defeat him. In order to support his family, he works in a small road side food stall during the day; however spends his evenings voraciously reading books he has somehow managed to gather. He someday dreams of getting an education, and commanding his own destiny.
On a hot sultry day, Chhotu encounters the local prince. The pauper is captivated at the sight of the crisp tie that the prince sports. He is immediately drawn towards it. The prince eyes the camel the pauper has tamed, and is instantly mesmerized. Thus an unlikely friendship is struck between the two, which dares to defy the stringent class barriers of the village.
One day, upon hearing a speech from Dr. Abdul Kalam, the former President of India, Chhotu vows to change his future. Just like him, the former President too suffered great hardships as a child, but through sheer determination, perseverance and hard work mapped his own course.
From that day forward, the enterprising lad drops the name Chhotu-a tag used to identity countless laboring boys across India , and adopts the alias ‘Kalam’. Like the former President, Chhotu pledges to become a hero someday. He is aided in his mammoth quest by his loyal friend Prince Ranvijay.