wogma rating: Add to 'must watch' list (?)
I am Kalam charmingly visualizes the life of a little boy who has to work to sustain himself and his family. Its simplicity is works as both an advantage and a disadvantage. The easy-going narrative is a pleasant watch but too-good-to-be-true plot is distracting.Read more
I am Kalam is a beautiful film. It romanticizes friendships, loneliness, class divides, political borders, ambition and of course roadside dhaabas and Rajasthan too. If only, the story held a little stronger or had a little more depth than aspiring young boy struggles to get what he wants.
I am Kalam is mainly the tale of young Chhotu who has given himself an alias - Kalam - after the former president of India. Dr. A. P. J Abdul Kalam is this little boy's inspiration. This little boy who works at a roadside dhaba cheerfully instead of grunting about going to school. He wants to go, but he can't afford to. As expected, the film has emotional moments and a strong message. But the moments are endearing and the message is well-hidden under a basic, sensitive story.
However, the story is a little more than just the story of Chhotu. It has other characters and their personalities that represent an older generation that has lost all hope and a part of Gen X from the interiors of India - the lazy, insecure and mean part. These digressions take away from the film because the approach to these side-stories is half-hearted.
I don't have material to empathize with Bhati (Gulshan Grover) or to want to give Laptan (Pitobash) one hard slap. And this is despite the fact that they have given awesome performances. You see the humility in Gulshan Grover's eyes and Pitobash annoys appropriately. But I don't care to love or hate them. The cuts in the film, that take you to their stories, give you the feeling that in the urge to keep the running time down, the makers gave up on the flow. The choppiness was disconcerting. And so was the side-story of the kings from the yesteryears who have lost their glory.
Fortunately, what matters is that Harsh Mayur who plays the protagonist is ever-so appealing with the twinkle in his eye. The rags he wears matter not, because of the wide grin he strides with. The spring in his step make you even more aware of his dire situation and the lesson or two you can learn from him. Both the actor and the character are equally responsible for the fine experience that Chhotu is.
And yet, the main story has a lot to say and I am Kalam says it with love. Its strength is in the subtlety with which it raises a question. What is chhotu thanking Kalam for? How would Dr. Kalam react if he actually met chhotu who labors at his tender age?
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Nupur Barua, fullhyd.com : ...This is Pitobash Tripathy's debut film, although Shor In The City was released first. The little man is a powerful actor, and does complete justice to his character of a disgruntled dhaba assistant. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...Mayar, who is a real-life slumchild, is endearingly life-like. So is his royal-blood companion, the lonely `kunwar’ of a Rajasthan princely estate, who finds a friend in the unlettered Kalam.... full review
Thumbs up, Mumbai Mirror : ...a dignified, heartwarming, little film; the story of a boy from the hinterland, the 'other' India, dreaming of one day becoming an educated citizen who matters in tomorrow's world;... full review
Thumbs up, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...I Am Kalam draws its lifeblood primarily from the innate authenticity of its tangible characters and the sustained evenness of its pragmatic tone. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Shaikh Ayaz, Rediff : ...In the end, what contributes to I Am Kalam immensely is its metaphor of Kalam, the scientist with an almost magical ability to bind people, especially children.... full review
Thumbs up, by Khalid Mohamed, Review and views uncensored : ...Anyone whose heart goes out to the urgent need for child literacy in the nation’s interior lands, should catch Kalam Jr asap. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...The film is abundant with rich cinematography (Mohana Krishna), vibrant music (Sushmit Bose, Abhskek Ray; background score by Deepak Pandit), and clever sound design (Kaamod Kharade). ... full review
Thumbs up, by Sudhish Kamath, The Hindu : ...Kalam does not care about winning himself. He is confident. He knows he will reach his destination some day. And wants his best friend to win, whether it is a French test or a Hindi elocution contest in school.... full review
Thumbs up, by Shoma A Chatterji, Upper Stall : ...Sanjoy Dasgupta’s production design specially of the bhatti and the room Haddi and Chhotu share with charpais scattered outside for the customers, the menu board, slogans announcing the excellence of Bhatti’s wonderful tea is excellent.... full review
So-So, by Deepa Deosthalee, Film Impressions : ...Debutant director Nila Madhab Panda's I Am Kalam is unusual for one reason alone. It allows a child from a remote corner of the country to idolise, not Amitabh Bachchan (like his older co-worker played by Pitobash does), or Sachin Tendulkar or Shah Rukh Khan, but India's former President APJ Abdul Kalam, a man while being hugely inspirational (particularly for children), isn't the likeliest candidate for the job.... full review
Thumbs down, by Sanjukta Sharma, Live Mint : ...There’s no problem with a simple fairy tale meant for a cause, but when it reinforces the worst kind of stereotypes associated with the ideas of a country and how white-skinned tourists are in less developed parts of the world, it is thoughtless film-making.... full review
_Outlier: 'I Am Kalam' is such a brilliant, cute film.
_maroo: I am Kalam is a heart warming film.
_gags: saw "I am Kalam" now...a well made movie....There is no destiny everything is karma
watelseshldido: #JustWatched I am Kalam. Awesome experience.!! Amazing film!!
vinaykumar346: I AM KALAM watch it guys........
Vikasnowal: Turned another usual weekend with an interesting experience to end it,saw “I am Kalam” & impressed with the way it has come up. Great effort
TheRaascal: I Am Kalam -A sweet story sweet hero a sweet message, Do watch guys tomorrow
TheBOON4all: Yaahhh its a superb movie RT @BeyShaRam: RT @ankash1009: All of you film champions, go watch "I am Kalam".great effort by Neel Madhab Panda
swarna04: "I Am Kalam" is a good watch I must say! Good story line and very relevant too
suryadeep_ag: "I am Kalam" .... Must watch
soumikrash: I AM KALAM is a sweet little film.dont miss!
sonicanowal: Nw wtchin "I am kalam"...gr8 movie!!!
smartmanas: watched... I AM KALAM... fantastic movie... hats off to NILA MADHAB PANDA>>>
singh_dr: Also, I Am Kalam was Beautiful :) Go watch.
singhcd: #singhcdFILMreviews I am kalam - a little film wid a big heart.A gut warming film dat doesn't preaches but puts d msg across in a subtle way
sindhudegapudi: 'I am Kalam' a must watch :)
Sid_breathacker: "i am kalam"...a must watch.. <3d it :)
Sethumadhavan: I am Kalam- a wonderful film that thankfully doesn't get into the emotional zone for comfort and yet delivers !!!
seghu: Must watch "I am Kalam". :)
Saumil_J: "i Am Kalam"; it says many things but in most simple way.
SaudMusheer: Watch "I am Kalam" #HighlyRecommended
SaikatGochhait: I Am Kalam is a winner...every Indian in spirit because it deals with a very Indian problem -- of widespread illiteracy and poverty..watch
rjmanoj: I am kalam ...amazing film please go and watch it
RjDhvanit: I am Kalam - 4 mirchis out of 5. Direct Dil Se! Not preachy kinds at all! Simple and brilliant narrative. Nice... https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10150237418525834&id=81800370833
riyaaz: "I am Kalam" was inspirational, rustic and humorous
ritika2611: Attempt #2: Saturday.. 4:45pm..'I Am Kalam'.. Six people in the hall and what a Beautiful film! #Nagpur, you'r missing out on something!
risingmarz: Indian cinema at it's best... Remarkable work.. I AM KALAM .. Loved it!!
ReedhimaChandra: Just was the movie "I am Kalam" liked it !!
RajVaish: So.. I am kalam... Is a little slow... Yea.. But whatsoever lovely peaceful light n all of dat.!
raise_india: I AM KALAM is an inspiring film that needs to be encouraged. Reccomended!
pradnyayedavi: I am Kalam ......awesome movie...... and luvd Rajasthan.. wht a beautiful place to live in..
nmahalle: "I am Kalam" - #Inspirational & Heartwarming . A must watch #Hindi #movie
NinadKarpe: Saw movie "I am Kalam" over the weekend. Simple, wonderful!
Nikhil_Dwivedi: I am kalam - a super movie guys! ;)
Navin_kumarv: 'I am Kalam' a charming little film
mishrasid: a ngo can make a classic cult movie like i am kalam but big banners like yrf amking craps like luv ka the end strange bollywood
MaYaNkThEcUtE: just watched a beautiful film- I AM KALAM
mayankdixit7: i am kalam is awesome :)
maur908: I am Kalam ...a must watch...
ManseeT: "i am kalam" a nice, simple movie with scenic rajasthan as the background :)
manishroy: Just watched 'I am Kalam'...got overwhelmed!
manishchodhary: Singham+ZNMD+Ready+Dabang+Delhi Belly= I am Kalam,watchd today..fantastic movie
latikamoehta: I Am Kalam is an honest & sweet film.Watch it! #kalamrocks
kunaljp: I Am Kalam is a beautiful film
krishdk: I Am Kalam: A sweet film with a good heart. The kid is adorable. @pitobash congratulations!
kaliom: Watch 'I am Kalam' ..nothing more to say bout..feel good movie..lil Iranian movie feel about it..
Jagmohan2170: i am kalam is nice move
iPaatil: 'I Am Kalam' leaves you uplifted and positive. Don't miss it. | My review - @aniguha @RelianceEnt
himanshuvora: I Am Kalam is rocking! Pls go watch it! Don't miss in theatre. Loved it. Kudos Nila Madhab Panda & team. Thank you for this film! #in
Himanshukjain: I am Kalam. Just overwhelmed with the poignant innocence of this gem of movie. Touches deepest core of the heart. 5/5
Hemant_0011: I AM kALAM very nice and messageful movie
harshal168: Bdw Loved I am Kalam..a must watch!! @sanketFMS U should watch this one..loved it!
gauravtiwari505: I am Kalam :) awesome
FaridoonS: Do try n catch 'I Am Kalam'.Its a film that touches a chord.A bit slow but u leave d cine hall with a smile.
DiscoFighter1: I Am Kalam. A movie everyone should check out and not underestimate! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOZ3qQi24I8&feature=related
dhruvis: I Am Kalam is a very sweet film. Watch it if you can. :)
dhaasu_vasu: I am kalam a nice movie.
deviant5: Watched a movie called "I am Kalam" with yp. Loved it :-)
deepsinside: 'I Am Kalam'.. beautifully made! well crafted. #HarshMayar is a wonder kid :) Dont miss it :) kudos to #SmileFoundation. #IAmKalam #Educate
Dakoohaseena: I am Kalam - refreshingly nice!
creativepagal: i watched I Am Kalam last year at IFFI and its really amazing movie
Claramusician: The best thing of having an open heart is the fascinating things you can find around! I recommend this hindi movie: "I Am Kalam".
chonmore: Every parent should watch the movie 'I am Kalam' with their children...
chirag585: Amazing Movie- I AM KALAM !!!
chandrangshum: Just saw d film I Am Kalam...nice 1.
bollywood_life: I AM KALAM Review: The film is a winning proposition: The film more than makes up for its failings with sheer he... http://www.bollywoodlife.com/news-gossip/i-am-kalam-review-the-film-is-a-winning-proposition/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=bollywood
bobspop: i am kalam has been made with a very noble thought.superb thaught worth applauding
bizzarebhide: I Am Kalam garnering excellent reviews. Saw the movie months ago .. Folks, do go watch it; its small little gem that will touch your heart.
bewitched931: i am kalam. Awesome movie!
barmecharajat: Saw 'I am Kalam' ....excellent film...great performances...Go, watch it guys :))))
ashokkw: I AM KALAM - must watch movie... Harsh Mayar has done justice to the role...
arnabBj: "I am Kalam" Dont ignore this kind of movie, and when @shreyaghoshal gives her voice in a movie, dont dare to miss it.
Appy_apps: watched "I am Kalam"...lovely movie....true emotions!!
ankitkchaudhary: 'I am Kalam' BEAUTIFUL movie...'mutthi me kuchh ho na ho, In ankhon me he sapana', aftr long time, BEAUTIFUL.I mean it !
ankash1009: All of you film champions, go watch "I am Kalam".. great effort by Neel Madhab Panda..
AniGuha: 'I Am Kalam' is such a cute, heartwarming film, you wish more and more people watch it.
amitjaju: Just attended the premier of "I am Kalam"...amazing film...highly recommend everybody to catch it this weekend...its beautiful.
AkshayAnant: Try, if possible, to watch the movie "I AM KALAM"... Even Big B has tweeted much about it some days before... "I AM KALAM" releases 2mrw...
advantej1: 'I Am Kalam' is a charming, heartwarming tale. You'll be glad you didn't miss this!
aditya_grover: Brief review of this week's releases I AM KALAM: A heart-warming script, put up beautifully on the celluloid.... http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=194119&l=7e98c0dbb1&id=101967029898190
aaroo4: If u don't watch delhi belly/znmd/veppam/etcetc its alright,but watch this movie.☺ An absolute must watch- "I am kalam.."
elitistcaveman: Could not stand 'I am Kalam'. Why do we feel the need to portray this romanticized version of India to charm foreigners?
This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
9-10 year-old Chhotu works at a roadside dhaba. He is enthusiastic about life but is pulled down by the people around him.