I Am Kalam is a beautiful film produced by the non-governmental charity called Smile Foundation. The reason behind making this movie was to bring awareness to people about the educational inequality prevailing in India.
I Am Kalam is a 2011 film, which was way ahead of its time. This is the story of a boy from a poor family who works as a child labourer at a highway-side cafe (aka dhaba). Irrespective of the problems in his life, he is a happy child with a simple dream to become someone like Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.
The plot has the protagonist Chotu being sent to a dhaba to work and earn for the family. Here, he befriends the royal heir, Rannvijay, of a neighbouring resort's owner, who’s his age. Every day, Chotu dreams of wearing a tie and uniform to go to school, just like Rannvijay, as he has an unusual thirst for education and knowledge. He then chances upon the Republic Day Parade and Dr. Kalam’s salutation march. Curious, he finds out about the President and instantly decides to become like him. From here, he begins to call himself Kalam.
As the story progresses, he meets a foreigner woman who tries to convince his mother to let him study as he is a bright kid, but since the family's circumstances aren’t in favour, he is denied an education. As a consequence, Chotu aka Kalam decides to run away to Delhi to meet the President and give him a letter. In this, he writes about how he wants to become like the President of India and thanks Dr. Kalam for making him realise his dreams. Meanwhile, every one from his family comes running after Chotu to find him in the new city. They finally track him down and a relieved Rannvijay and zealous Chotu hug each other with joy.
In the end, Rannvijay’s father offers Chotu’s mother work at his resort and agrees to pay for Chotu’s education and send him to the same school as Rannvijay’s. That is when Chotu says he wants to pay for his education on his own and the movie ends with both Chotu aka Kalam and Rannvijay boarding the school bus in their school uniforms.
The plot shows that equality in education is still a mere thought and that ideas are still being built around the education for underprivileged. The movie is, without a doubt, an eye-opener for the education sector in India.
The child named Chotu, with the sole dream of education, depicts the scenario of the underprivileged communities in our country and the inequity of education a majority of kids his age face. With this film, Smile Foundation wanted to press on the matter a decade ago. Clearly, the great scientist, an exemplary leader and a visionary teacher, Dr. Kalam, is a huge inspiration behind the script. The film ends on a promising note that where there’s a will, there’s a way. But most importantly, it teaches us that nothing can stop a child from grabbing his right to education if his determination is strong.