REAL HERO KALAM INSPIRED CINEMA TOO
Filmmaker Nila Madhab Panda who made a film inspired by the late President APJ Abdul Kalam, says his best quality was his simplicity
As the nation mourns the death of the former President of India, APJ Abdul Kalam, filmmaker Nila Madhab Panda, who made a film titled I Am Kalam (2011), and met the President several times, remembers him.
“I met him many times. The most wonderful thing about him was his simplicity. People call him the Missile Man and India’s most endearing President, but I call him the hero of modern India,” says Panda, whose movie was based on how a child gets inspired by Kalam and fights all odds to educate himself.
Panda says that Kalam loved the film since it spoke about children and education, and always harped on nurturing future generations. “He never liked to speak about himself, but he gave out an incredible message to people just by his actions. He always spoke about how important children are for the future of the nation. But most of all, he always said that we should never stop dreaming,” shares Panda.
APJ Abdul Kalam (below) was also an enthusiast of the arts, including music and poetry
I received the Padma Shri from Dr Abdul Kalam in 2004, and as I was accepting the award, he said to me in my ear, ‘I am a huge fan of yours.’ I was so surprised. I never thought that a man who was so much into science would enjoy films. He kept on inspiring people. In many ways he was like Swami Vivekananda. His name couldn’t be associated with any religion ... his only religion was humanity
Anupam Kher, actor
I was fortunate enough to receive two National Awards from Dr Kalam. When I went to accept the award for Traffic Signal in 2006, he remembered giving the National Award to me for Page 3 in 2004. Then I told him, ‘Sir, I will complete a hattrick of getting National Awards from you ... he just looked at me and smiled — Madhur Bhandarkar, filmmaker
Nila Madhab Panda (above); A still from the film I Am Kalam (below)