I Am Kalam

I Am Kalam: An Inspirational Journey of Dreams, Friendship, and Determination for Young Hearts

Recommended for age

12 +

Editor rating:


Positive Messages


Drinking, Drugs & Smoking








Positive Role Models







Nila Madhab Panda


Smile Foundation India

Synopsis: Follow Chhotu, a young boy with big dreams, as he befriends an unlikely mentor in 'I Am Kalam,' a heartwarming tale of hope and resilience

What parents should be aware of

I Am Kalam" is a heartwarming and inspirational film suitable for young teens (12-14 years). While it offers a touching story of determination, parents should be aware of certain aspects when considering it for their children.The film follows the journey of Chhotu, a young boy from a humble background, who aspires to overcome his circumstances and receive an education. Parents should be prepared for discussions about socio-economic disparities and the challenges faced by underprivileged children in pursuit of their dreams.There is no depiction of drinking, drugs, or smoking in the film, ensuring a safe viewing experience for young teens.Intimacy and romantic themes are entirely absent from the film, making it a family-friendly choice.While the film contains moments of tension and conflict, the portrayal of violence is minimal and non-graphic. These scenes contribute to the narrative but are suitable for young teens.Profanity is non-existent in the film, maintaining a clean and appropriate language for all audiences.The central message of "I Am Kalam" revolves around hope, resilience, and the pursuit of education. It encourages young viewers to believe in their dreams, work hard, and never give up in the face of adversity.

The storyline

"I Am Kalam" tells the touching story of a young boy named Chhotu, who hails from a remote and impoverished village in Rajasthan, India. Despite his challenging circumstances, Chhotu is determined to receive an education and dreams of improving his life.One day, while working at a roadside food stall, Chhotu encounters an unusual mentor—an old man who calls himself "Kalam" after the famous Indian scientist and former President, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. Kalam befriends Chhotu and becomes his guide and confidant.Under Kalam's guidance, Chhotu embarks on a journey of self-discovery and education. He is inspired to learn and develops a deep love for books. Kalam's encouragement fuels Chhotu's ambition, and he begins to call himself "Kalam" in honor of his mentor.The film beautifully captures the relationship between Chhotu and Kalam, highlighting the impact of mentorship and the power of education. Kalam's wisdom and life experiences impart valuable lessons to the young boy, shaping his character and outlook on life.As Chhotu's determination grows, he faces various challenges and obstacles, including socio-economic disparities and prejudice. These challenges are portrayed in a sensitive and age-appropriate manner, providing young viewers with opportunities for reflection and discussion."I Am Kalam" emphasizes the importance of education and self-belief. Chhotu's unwavering determination to attend school and improve his life serves as an inspirational example for young audiences.The film's storytelling is complemented by the picturesque landscapes of Rajasthan and a soulful soundtrack, adding depth and emotion to the narrative. "I Am Kalam" invites viewers on a heartfelt journey filled with hope, dreams, and the enduring power of friendship.

How good is it?

I Am Kalam, directed by Nila Madhab Panda and released in 2010, tells the story of Chhotu, a poor boy who dreams of going to school and making a better life for himself. The movie is a heartwarming tale filled with important lessons that children can learn from.The film is set in Rajasthan, a state in northern India, and follows Chhotu, a young boy who works as a servant in a roadside dhaba (restaurant). Despite his difficult life circumstances, Chhotu is a determined and optimistic child who dreams of going to school and getting an education.One day, Chhotu meets a young boy named Prince, who is visiting from a wealthy family. Prince takes a liking to Chhotu and the two become fast friends. Prince tells Chhotu about the Indian president A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, who came from a humble background and worked hard to achieve success.Inspired by Kalam’s story, Chhotu starts calling himself "Kalam," and begins attending school whenever he can. However, he faces many obstacles on his journey to education, including his father’s disapproval and the ridicule of his classmates.One of the most striking things about I Am Kalam is its ability to touch on important themes while still remaining accessible to younger viewers. The film discusses issues like poverty, inequality, and education in a way that is both poignant and engaging without feeling preachy or heavy-handed.Through Chhotu’s story, we see the challenges that many underprivileged children in India face when it comes to accessing education. For Chhotu, living in poverty means that he has to work long hours from a young age, leaving little time for school. He is also seen as inferior by some of his classmates, who come from wealthier backgrounds and have access to more resources.Despite these difficulties, Chhotu remains determined to overcome his circumstances and achieve his dreams. His perseverance serves as a powerful example for young viewers, teaching them about the importance of hard work and dedication in the face of adversity.Another important theme in the film is the power of friendship and mentorship. Prince, the wealthy boy that Chhotu befriends, becomes a mentor to him, giving him books to read and inspiring him to pursue his education. Through their relationship, we see the transformative power of positive relationships and the importance of having support in our lives.In addition to these themes, I Am Kalam also features excellent performances from its cast. Harsh Mayar, who plays Chhotu, delivers a standout performance that is both charming and nuanced. The supporting cast, which includes experienced actors like Gulshan Grover and Hussan Saad, also do an excellent job of bringing the story to life.Visually, the film is stunning as well. Shot against the backdrop of Rajasthan’s beautiful landscapes, the film captures the natural beauty of the region and brings it to life on screen. The vibrant colors and stunning cinematography will keep younger viewers engaged and entertained throughout the movie.Overall, I Am Kalam is an excellent movie for kids that delivers important lessons through a touching and heartwarming story. Its themes of perseverance, friendship, and education are all important messages that children can take away from the film. With great performances and stunning visuals, it is a movie that is sure to captivate audiences of all ages.


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