Child actor Harsh Mayar is over the moon. The thirteen-year-old boy from a resettlement colony in New Delhi has bagged the National Award for Best Child category for playing the protagonist in Nila Madhab Panda’s film
I Am Kalam
, and is enjoying every bit of the popularity that has followed since.
“I am very happy. I’ve been getting so many calls since the announcement, and I’ve been rushing to various TV studios for interviews too,” says Mayar, who studies in class 8 at Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya in Ambedkar Nagar.
The film is about Chhotu, a poor boy from Rajasthan who, inspired by former President Kalam, dreams of educating himself to lead a better life. Since its release last year, the feature film has 12 international and national awards to its credit, including The Best Feature Film at IFFI and Audience Favourite at Barbican Children’s Film Festival, London.
Mayar was chosen for the role after an audition for the film, which also stars veterans Gulshan Grover and Pitobash Tripathy. The script required the young actor, who was ten years old at the time of shooting, to speak in Rajasthani, something that the artiste found tough to do. “So I began watching TV serials that have that language and tried to pick it up from there,” says Mayar, for whom working on a film was not a big deal in terms of its challenges. “I have acted in two plays before, so acting in the movie was not very difficult.”
Not surprisingly, he wants to grow up and continue pursuing a career in Bollywood. “I love acting and want to work in films for sure,” he beams. The young star has already signed on Panda’s next film, the shooting for which will start later this year.