Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Film review of I Am Kalam

Harsh Mayar in a film poster

I rented Indian independent film I Am Kalam this week. Set in Rajasthan, it is the story of a talented and driven boy who seems destined for a childhood spent busing tables at a roadside tea house. Already a voracious reader and a keen learner, a brief about the rags-to-riches story of Indian president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on TV inspires him to rise above his disheartening circumstances. 

There's some good film-making by director Nila Madhab Panda evident in the film, despite it being an indie on a relatively low budget. The cinematography does justice to the vibrant colors and scenery in the film. As with many indie Indian films, there are no implausible song & dance routines to interrupt the story with unnecessary camp. Apart from a little awkward acting by some of the foreign cast that were roped in for bit parts, and a couple of moments that were predictable on a tactical level, it was a good show on the acting and writing fronts.

Lead actor Harsh Mayar deserves every award he has received for his part in the film; his expressiveness and delivery really generates the bulk of its charm. The film also received a lot of awards, and with an appeal for all ages, ought to have done better at the box office.

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