Child actor Harsh Mayar is over the moon. The 13-year-old boy from a resettlement colony in New Delhi has bagged the National Award in the Best Child category for playing the protagonist in Nila Madhab Panda’s film I Am Kalam, and is enjoying his moment in the sun. “I am very happy. I’ve been getting so many calls since the announcement, and I’ve been rushing to TV studios for interviews,” 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 APJ Kalam, dreams of educating himself to lead a better life.
Since its release last year, the film has won 12 international and national awards, 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 actors Gulshan Grover and Pitobash Tripathy.
The script required the young actor to speak in Rajasthani, something that Mayar found tough to do. “I began watching TV serials that have that language and tried to pick it up from there,” he says. “I have acted in two plays before, so acting in the movie was not very difficult.” Mayar loves the craft and wants to pursue a career in Bollywood once he grows up. “I love acting and want to work in films for sure,” he says.