Movies

I am Kalam is a nice Indian film By VINOD MIRANI

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Producer: Santanu Mishra
Director: Nila Madhab Panda
Cast: Gulshan Grover, Harsh Mayar, Pitobash Tripathi, Husaan Saad, Beatrice Ordeix.


 


MUMBAI: A much talked about and acclaimed film, I Am Kalam is about finding and seeking inspiration from an idol, which drives a poor but bright youth to crave for education and pursue his ambitions.


Who better as an inspiration for a young village boy than the ex President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, a village boy himself who struggled to get education before going on to become an aerospace expert and eventually to occupy the highest office in India, that of the President?


Harsh Mayar is a poor village boy in Rajasthan. He works at a dhaba to support his mother and kid sister. He is a bright young boy with an almost photographic memory, which he uses to learn anything that is worth learning; every printed word is his gospel and his meagre belongings consist mainly of books.


Harsh learns his way around the dhaba business and wins the hearts of customers as well as the owner, Gulshan Grover, collecting hefty tips on the way. Harsh’s job also takes him to a royal haveli nearby to serve tea and food to mostly foreign tourists. Harsh has also befriended the dhaba camel, Laxmi, along with the people around him, and that is his mode of transport to the haveli.
 
The haveli has its own young occupant, Husaan Saad, a lonely descendant of royal family that still lives in the illusions of its royal Rajput past. Husaan Saad craves for company, which he finds in Harsh and soon both share friendship as well as trade their knowledge. While Harsh teaches the young prince Hindi and other tricks like climbing trees, he in the bargain learns English from the prince.


Other characters are included in the film as needed without crowding the space; Beatrice Ordeix, for example, a regular at the dhaba and a Rajasthan fan comes around just in time to teach the prince some much needed French. Beatrice loves everything Rajasthani including a Ravanhaththa, while Gulshan Grover on his part is her silent lover. Then there is a detractor in Harsh’s life in the form of another dhaba boy, Pitobash Tripathi, a wannabe Amitabh Bachchan with a funny as well as a vicious side to him.


Harsh finds his idol from a TV screen as he watches APJ Abdul Kalam, the then President, making a speech which inspires Harsh to get an education and one day be able to wear a tie as part of his attire and proof of education. He takes to the teachings of the President to heart and not only does he assume a new name for himself, Kalam, but even tries to ape his hair style.


I Am Kalam is a no-hassle light-hearted film with a nice, Indian story to tell and the Rajasthan background adds to its visual merit. There is nothing larger-than-life and the approach is more “tell it like it is”. Even while the film has a vital message to give, it is never preachy.


Director Nila Madhab Panda is in full control here doing full justice to Sanjay Chauhan’s writing. The songs and musical score blend well with the theme and locale. Harsh Mayar gives a true to life performance. Gulshan Grover does his bit with dignity, breaking away from the mould. Pitobash Tripathi is a natural talent. Husaan Saad and Beatrice Ordeix are good.


I Am Kalam is a must watch and promote film, which is the only way such a film can make a mark and inspire another one like it. Alas, as things stand, the film will go unnoticed.


A movie that couldn’t break out of its serial mould









Producer: Umesh Mehra, Rajesh Mehra, Rajiv Mehra
Director: Rajiv Mehra
Cast: Pankaj Kapoor, Deven Bhojani, Manoh Pahwa, Sanjay Mishra, Hemant pandey, Asawari Joshi, Gaurav Kapoor, Seema Malik, Vinay Jain


MUMBAI :Converting the popularity of TV serials to films is yet very rare in India, two recent examples being Khichdi and now Office Office with its film version, Chala Mussaddi Office Office.


The early example was that of Sarat Chandra’s Shrikant, a TV serial on Doordarshan which was edited to film length. With Khichdi and Chala Mussaddi Office Office, things still seem to be at the experimental stage and give a feel of stretching a 23-minute episode into film length.


The film is about Pankaj Kapoor, a common man and retired school master, who loses his wife to the greedy doctors’ negligence and, with his son as company, embarks on a char dhaam yatra to immerse her ashes.


His ordeals and exploitations start with this journey and instead of culminating at the end of it, keep on multiplying. He comes home to see that his electricity has been cut for non-payment of bills. A greater shock awaits him when he goes to bank to withdraw money from his pension account and realises that none has been credited. His crusade starts when he discovers that in his absence, corrupt pension officers have marked him as dead and usurped his pension.


When he presents himself in person, the officers still want a proof and a witness that he is alive. Mussaddi is determined on getting his just dues; the pension officers are bent on not giving in. You patiently watch as he runs from pillar to post and back again to pillar till a fairly filmy climax puts Mussadi’s and your anxieties at rest.


Whichever way you look at it, the story of the film is just one episode’s worth of content and never manages to come out of its TV serial limitations even with the initial few reels devoted to side attractions like train TTC and ‘pandas’ of the banks of Ganges. They lay the ground for what is to follow, which the popularity of the serial did eons ago.


The story amplifies manifold the corruption in government offices and the helplessness of Mussaddilal. While in today’s scenario the unabashed corruption may look plausible, the protagonist’s helplessness does not.


Directorially fair, the film has good performances by its seasoned star cast with Pankaj Kapoor excelling as usual, supported ably by Deven Bhojani, Manoj Pahwa, Sanjay Mishra, Hemant Pandey, Asawari Joshi and Gaurav Kapur.


Chala Mussaddi Office Office faces poor prospects at the box office.

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