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 2011 Hindi movie 'I Am Kalam' which portrayed the story of a youngster inspired by India's missile man APJ Abdul Kalam.
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.
“He told me, 'keep chasing your dreams, my boy'. It was then that the Kalam sir gave me the true mission for my life,” Harsh, 17, told the Hindustan Times 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.
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.
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.
After the news of APJ's death broke, he wrote on Twitter: “If people know me.. today just because of this great soul thank you so much Sir for giving me Your Name “Kalam” Rip.”