Chase your dreams: The slum boy to whom Kalam gave wings

  • Aniruddha Dhar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 29, 2015 11:25 IST

Harsh Mayar grew up in a Delhi slum, dreaming of becoming an actor. And when he finally got his place under the spotlight, Harsh also found the man who gave wings to his dreams.

Harsh played the main role in the critically-acclaimed movie ‘I Am Kalam’ which portrayed the story of a youngster inspired by the former president and India’s missile man APJ Abdul Kalam, who passed away on Monday at the age of 83.

It was during a meeting with the former president after the release of the film that Harsh found what he calls the true calling of his life, the actor told HT on phone from Mumbai where he is based now.

“He told me, ‘keep chasing your dreams, my boy’. It was then that the Kalam sir gave me the true mission for my life,” said Harsh, 17, on Tuesday.

While the film went on to win several national and international awards, Harsh also jointly bagged the national award for best child artiste in 2011.

“Nobody knew me till then (when the film was made). I was just another boy who had a passion for theatre,” said Harsh, adding that the film made him what he is today.

Ever since the news broke about the demise of Kalam, Harsh’s phone hasn’t stopped ringing. And he has been giving interviews ceaselessly since then.

Like the entire country, Harsh said he too was in shock over the sudden demise of his role-model.

“I am in a shock. I still can’t believe that he is no more… But I believe he will always remain in our hearts because there is a ‘Kalam’ in each of us”.

The actor also said it was now his responsibility to “carry forward Kalam’s legacy.”

“No matter how big an actor I become in future, I will always like to be known by the name Kalam, a name that changed many lives and mine too,” he added.

Born to a poor family in Delhi, Harsh’s story isn’t much different from the most people’s president as Kalam is known.

His uncle Sunil Kumar had taken him to a coaching centre in Delhi because his parents could not afford to pay the fees of his acting classes.

“I gave around 200 auditions for singing, dancing and acting, before ‘I Am Kalam’ director Nila Madhab Panda picked me for the role,” recalled Harsh.

Read:Farewell Kalam! Pranab, Modi lead nation in paying homage

Read:Why APJ Abdul Kalam clicked among India's young

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