India Abroad August 7, 2015 A15 COVER STORY Icame from a similar background as Dr Kalam, where basic education and survival were an issue. When I
became a filmmaker, I made a feature-length documentary for James Bond
co-producer Barbara Broccoli. I met a
lot of street children for the documentary. What haunted me most were
their dreams. I had seen the dreams in
the eyes of those children, whom I met
on the streets, railway stations, brick
factories and brothels. They all had
dreams, like Dr Kalam and me.
I used to read a lot about Dr Kalam.
I always thought of making a film that
can inspire children. I tried to think of
a hero, who can inspire. I felt the most
inspiring living hero for our children is
Dr Kalam. He was a true leader, a true
At our first meeting, the first thing
he said to me was, “Come come, you
have a great smile; it means you have a
He held my hand and asked me, “Are
you married?” I said yes.
Then he asked, “Are you with family
after marriage or separated from fami-
ly?” I said my family lives in the village
but I am in the city because of my pro-
Then Dr Kalam made a beautiful
statement. He said: “Joint family
means growth, prosperity, love, trust,
blessings, unity. Nuclear family, you
Apart from being a president or scientist, Dr Kalam’s understanding of modern India and its culture heritage was
unmatched by any other living leader.
He was a true superhero, a star you
can’t touch but you can feel in every
sphere of activity.
I made a film on his philosophy and
his statements, and it became a super-
hit. He was not into self-congratula-
tion, so instead of talking about him-
self after my film, he said, “Good, you
are spreading a good message for the
He never praised himself. In our gen-
eration, we never met Mahatma
Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri or
Jawaharlal Nehru, but we are lucky
and proud to have had such a great liv-
ing legend in a our midst.
Dr Kalam is a true hero of modern
— nila Madhab Panda, the national award- winning director who made IAmKalam, a homage to Kalam’s vision of a child-literate India, spoke with Subhash K Jha
he used to address and interact with people across the globe sitting
in Rashtrapati Bhavan. He
used his multimedia studio
effectively to deliver speeches,
inaugurations, awards across
the globe. I have not witnessed
anybody else using it for such
stuff after that. I am a lucky
few to have witnessed that era. — rakesh Mishra, a citizen of India responded to a reader invite on zara Bol
he was chief guest at our con- vocation about four months back. And, not unusual for
him, he interacted with the stu-
dents. The excitement visible on his
face was visible on the faces of stu-
dents also who interacted with him. — Sudhir Saxena, a citizen of India responded to a reader invite on zara Bol
When Comes Such Another
Dr Kalam, right, with then Indian prime minister atal Bihari vajpayee, center, at the Pokhran nuclear test site. Dr Kalam served as the chief scientific adviser to the PM and the secretary of the Defence research and Development organization from July 1992 to December 1999.
national award-winning director nila Madhab Panda, left, with Dr Kalam, second from right.
Dr Kalam walks where Socrates was imprisoned at the foot of the acropolis hill in athens, april 27, 2007. he was on a four-day official visit to Greece.
as the chief of DRDO he would visit the Institute of
Armament Technology in
Pune where I was posted.
Being a Tamilian I would
on some days be detailed
to accompany him on his
morning walks. The walk
would be really enjoyable
and very informative. He
had an aura around him
and one could go on and
on listening to him — rajaram Ganesan, a citizen of India responded to a reader invite on zara Bol
yIorGoS KarahaLIS/reU TerS