June 21, 2011, 7:00 P.M.

Norris Cinema Theatre/Frank Sinatra Hall

The SCA Summer Screening Series and Smile Foundation, in cooperation with Media Partners Global, invite you and a guest to a special screening of:

Directed by Nila Madhab Panda. Screenplay by Sanjay Chouhan.

Followed by a Q&A with Gulshan Grover, Moderated by SCA Professor Priya Jaikumar

7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, June 21st, 2011




About I Am Kalam

Chotu, a young boy working at a café, dreams of one day becoming educated. Chotu has been sent away by his mother to work and he has no time to go to school. Inspired by a message from President Kalam that anyone can change their destiny and their place in life, Chotu studies on his own whenever possible. Through a chance encounter, he befriends the local prince and the two secretly spend time together, planning their perfect futures. Both learn about life through the other's very different experiences. This heart-warming tale shows how someone can work to overcome their destiny, and the obstacles that life sometimes puts in the way.

The film is produced by Smile Foundation, a national level development organization in India for underprivileged children and youth through education, healthcare and livelihood. India has a policy of free and compulsory education for children in India. Still, 30 million children do not go to school. Smile Foundation strongly believes that child education is the most effective tool for empowerment in a nation. I Am Kalam is an endeavor in championing the cause of empowering underprivileged children through education.

Cast: Gulshan Grover, Harsh Mayar, Hussan Saad and Beatrice Ordeix

Provided courtesy of Smile Foundation, in cooperation with Media Partners Global. Not rated. Running time: 87 minutes. In Hindi, with English subtitles.

To view the trailer on YouTube, click here.

About the Guests

GULSHAN GROVER (Actor, "Bhati")
Gulshan Grover was born, raised and educated in Delhi, India. After receiving his master’s degree in Commerce, he decided to pursue his passion and made a lifelong commitment to entertain others. He honed his acting skills in theatre, and after many stage productions with the well-known “Little Theatre Group” he moved to Bombay to pursue a career in movies. Once there, he began his formal acting training at prestigious Actor’s Studio and eventually became an acting teacher at the same school; in fact, some of today’s leading Indian stars were once his students. Actor Anil Kapoor and Gulshan Grover were batch mates at the acting School.

In over 400 films to date over a 25 year career, Gulshan has proven himself to be a versatile professional with a passion for his chosen craft. He has acted in many of India’s most successful films, received numerous accolades and awards, and is a prominent figure in the Indian film community. He is also one of the first Bollywood actors who pioneered the transition from Bollywood to Hollywood.

GG is not only an actor, a producer and an entrepreneur, he is truly a link between Indian Entertainment Industry and Hollywood. He has successfully synergized various entertainment businesses between India and USA. His personal commitment to give back to people and society through social causes has led to his being labelled “the entertainer with a good cause”.

PRIYA JAIKUMAR (Moderator/SCA Profess0r)
Priya Jaikumar is Associate Professor in the Department of Critical Studies. A historian and theorist of colonial and postcolonial cinemas, her writing has focused on questions of state power, comparative modernities and aesthetics, and transnational cultural formations. Her book Cinema at the End of Empire: A Politics of Transition in Britain and India from Duke University Press (2006) details the intertwined industrial, regulatory and aesthetic histories of British and Indian cinema during the late colonial period. Her scholarly work has appeared in Cinema Journal, The Moving Image, Post Script, Screen, World Literature Today, and in recent anthologies like Hollywood Abroad and Transnational Feminism in Film and Media. Her current projects include a co-edited anthology on the state titled Undoing Leviathan, and research on the visual production of place in cinema about South Asia. She is writing on the emergence, management and persistence of territorial imaginaries that depend on the mimetic capacities of photography and cinema. This interest has taken her into a few related areas of visual study, such as: colonial tourist photography; circulation of images of insurgent cities; film and architecture; Euro-American filmmakers using Indian film locales; and location shooting more broadly.

In the Department of Critical Studies, Jaikumar conducts undergraduate and graduate survey courses on international sound cinema and seminars on film aesthetics (“Realism and Modernism”), film genre studies (on the historical film; on “Transnational Film Genres”), postcolonial theory, globalization, and Indian cinema. Jaikumar served on the Board of Directors of the Society of Cinema and Media Studies (2006-2009). Jaikumar previously worked as Assistant Professor of Film at the English Department in Syracuse University, where she was awarded the Department’s 2002 undergraduate teaching award. She received her Ph.D. in 1999 from the Department of Radio-TV-Film at Northwestern University, and her dissertation received SCMS’ first honorable mention. Prior to joining academia, Jaikumar was a television reporter and print journalist in New Delhi, India, publishing her writings with The Times of India, The Indian Express, and the journal A&M (Advertising and Marketing).

About the Director/Producer

Nila Madhab Panda (Director/Producer), who hails from a remote village in eastern Indian state of Odisha, is one of India's emerging generation of innovative young filmmakers. A veteran of over 70 documentaries, short films, television drama (including 2 mega TV serials) and corporate & advertising films, Panda's new feature film I Am Kalam (2010) has won a dozen of prestigious national and international awards. It has won him the best debut director nationally, three best feature film awards, three audience award and also two best actor prize. Panda has also designed and implemented several IEC campaigns for Ministries, UN organizations and International NGOS which includes, female feticide campaign, Right to education, Sanitation and drinking water.

Check-In & Reservations

This screening is free of charge and open to the general public. Please bring a photo ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 6:30 P.M.


The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $8.00 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Avenue. We recommend parking in outdoor Lot M or V, or Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Please note that Parking Structure D cannot accommodate tall vehicles such as SUVs. Metered street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.

Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago
Email: aago@cinema.usc.edu
Phone: 213.740.2330