Posts filed under ‘Nila Madhab Panda, Film maker and director of Sonepur’

I Am Kalam by Nila Madhab Panda won the young jury award at the International Film Festival of India

Following report is from the Samaja:

Following is the promo of  “I am Kalam”:


December 4, 2010 at 7:03 pm Leave a comment

An interview with director Nila Madhab Panda

Following is report by IANS taken

New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) Nila Madhab Panda’s debut Hindi project ‘I Am Kalam’ – whose first part is inspired by the life of the former president A.P.J.Abdul Kalam – is yet to be released in India, but the award winning director is already working on two more films to make a trilogy on the lives of helper boys, popularly called ‘chhotus’ .

‘It will be a trilogy. I am working on both the stories (part II and part III) and it will be like (Satyajit Ray’s) Apu trilogy on the growth of the main character and different facets of his life,’ Panda, 37, told IANS in an interview.

‘The sequels won’t be inspired by Kalam unlike the first part. The trilogy will actually concentrate on the story of chhotus and facets of their life in different parts of the country,’ said Panda.

‘I will start shooting the second part early next year,’ he said.

Panda, who hails from Orissa, has produced and directed over 60 documentaries, short films, television drama and films for national broadcasters in the last 12 years.

Produced by Smile Foundation, a national development organisation, ‘I Am Kalam’ is a movie on the plight of the underprivileged and highlights how the privileged can play a role to uplift the former.

‘The idea of the film is to give a message that every child should go to school which is relevant to the right to education and that effort is more powerful than fate. It also urges the privileged masses to join the effort to educate the children and help them to dream and turn their dreams into breathing reality,’ said Panda.

‘At the same time it celebrates the survival of the human spirit against overwhelming odds like poverty, child labour, illiteracy, class system, etc. It is like a fairytale about how a child reacts to things, with a positive tone despite the serious issues it touches.’

The movie marks the debut of Delhi-based 12-year-old underprivileged child Harsh Mayyar in the lead and French theatre actress Beatrice Ordeix. Gulshan Grover and child actor Hussan Saad play pivotal roles. It is tentatively slated for release early next year.

Told in the classic prince-and-the-pauper format, it is set in Bikaner, Rajasthan, and revolves around the trials and tribulations of the protagonist Chhotu’s struggle for education after he gets inspired by former president Kalam.

‘I was looking for an inspiring character who people really know and who can really inspire audiences. Even during the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, everyone cheered and clapped when they saw Kalam. He is a living legend and the film is inspired by him,’ said Panda.

Having won three international awards, ‘I Am Kalam’ is winning kudos in the world film festival circuit. It was also screened in the Marche Du section at the 63rd Cannes International Film Festival this year.

‘The movie’s journey to different festivals has proved that children’s cinema is important, independent Indian cinema, cause-based cinema is important and that there is an audience for these kinds of movies,’ said Panda, who has already managed to sell the outing in countries like Taiwan, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Apart from the other two instalments in the ‘I Am Kalam’ trilogy, his future projects also include a movie on the urban loneliness post- Commonwealth Games in Delhi and an international co-production.

A UN audio-visual award winner (2002), he has to his credit awards like Heroism in Cinematography 2003 and the UK Environment Film Fellowship 2005. He has also made the independent Hollywood movie ‘The Woman from Georgia’, starring Philip Reevs. It is still awaiting release.

His works include documentaries and short films like ‘Climate’s First Orphans’, ‘Smile Again’, ‘New Horizon’, ’21st Century Folktale’ and TV shows like ‘Aatmaja’ on female foeticide.

(Robin Bansal can be contacted at

November 17, 2010 at 11:14 am 1 comment

Meet Nilamadhab Panda film maker and director from Sonepur, western Orissa;Nila Madhab Panda’s I AM KALAM wins two international awards

Following is a report from

Debutant filmmaker Nila Madhab Panda’s I AM KALAM has won the Best Feature Film Award at the Lucas International Film Festival in Germany. It has also won the Don Quixote Prize of the International Federation of Ciné-Clubs (FICC) awards.

Set in Rajasthan, I AM KALAM relates the story of Chhotu’s hunger for education, something which he cannot aspire to have because of his family’s poverty-stricken status.

Through an engaging, entertaining and fast-paced narrative, the film takes the viewer to the world of Chhotu, who at one point starts referring himself as Kalam after watching ex-president APJ Kalam speak about how he got his education fighting several odds on TV,.

Naming himself as Kalam has more than a symbolic meaning for Chhotu (a name thrust upon him by people at the Dhaba, who, like most of us, care two hoots for the identity of little kids working at eateries, shops and other establishments, and insensitively calling all of them as ‘Chhotu’, (the small one).

Chhotu’s life takes an unexpected turn as he befriends Prince Ranvijay, whose father, an erstwhile “king” of a princely state, is running a heritage hotel at his ancestral palace across the street, where Chhotu goes to deliver tea to the guests. What follows forms the crux of the film.

A sensitive film on the plight of the underprivileged, the film is also about how the privileged class can play a role in the uplift of the less-privileged millions. 

Panda, who has made over 60 short films, documentaries and television drama for Doordarshan, the BBC, Discovery Channel, NGC and private producers across the globe, says, “I believe in telling stories that have a universal appeal and a sense of purpose to the art that I create. I believe that the more local you get, the more global your access will be; and so here is one such local story.”

In all my films, I have explored the people’s basic needs and problem of the marginalized. I find such stories purposeful and exciting. I am also interested in making cinema for children and family; a genre that is much neglected in world cinema and more specifically in Asia.”

The film’s cast that has Delhi slum boy Harsh Mayar in the title also includes veteran actor Gulshan Grover (as Bhati the dhaba owner), child actor Hussan Saad of DELHI 6 fame (as Prince Ranvijay), French actress Beatrice Ordeix, FTII-trained Pitobash Tripathy and Meena Mir.

October 9, 2010 at 8:01 am 5 comments

Director and filmmaker Nila Madhab Panda of Sonepur district wins global award for “I Am Kalam”

Following report is from the

It is a wonder how life’s seemingly mundane experiences spur profound milestones in the journey to self-discovery. Filmmaker Nila Madhab Panda would certainly have a lot to say on that. The 37-year-old’s I Am Kalam is well on its way for an exclusive screening at the world’s biggest children festival  — The National School Film Week, London — on October 14.

Already riding on strong promise, the film, produced by Smile Foundation, has managed to bag the best feature film award and the Don Quixote Prize of the International Cine Club Federation at the Lucas Film Festival, Frankfurt Germany. “I come from one of India’s poorest regions, a remote village in Orissa’s Sonepur district. I know about daily struggle. But I also know what aspiration is. It’s a story of struggle that I have faced in my childhood,” says Panda. “I’m an eternal positivist. There is so much of negativity today, be it climate change or corruption. But I look at the spirit that instills fighting instincts against overwhelming odds,” he adds.

Strong on the social message of the need for education, the film is a celebration of struggle, aspiration and success. It also has a strong take on child labour, the exploitative Indian system and the thoughtless individual.

The cast includes Harsh Mayar, a 10-year-old boy from a Delhi slum, actor Gulshan Grover and French actor Beatrice. The film was inspired by Panda’s encounter with a young boy ten years back which has been superimposed with the life and character of former president APJ Kalam. Kalam’s quintessential thesis has been his firm belief that every individual in life is endowed with special qualities or a unique ‘fire’, and that the purpose of one’s life is to develop these attributes or ‘to give wings to this fire.’

The child protagonist in the film, Chhotu, works as an errand boy in a roadside dhaba. His name is suggestive of a generic identity for all child workers where no one gives a damn about them. He recognises his life’s purpose when he’s asked: “What is your real name?” He realises that he wants a real name with a character, unlike the countless faceless Chhotus. He needs a hero and finds his answer on TV — APJ Kalam, a man who scaled the pinnacle of achievement, an individual who financed his school fees by selling newspapers.

I Am Kalam had its world premiere at the Marche du Section of the Cannes film festival this year. Having produced and directed over 65 documentaries, shorts and films across the globe, Panda is a promise among India’s emerging generation of young filmmakers. His contemporary storytelling methods offer a skillful and visually striking edge to social themes.

Following report is from (Kalam continues to inspire, now on reel):

Balangir, Sept. 19: Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s “early life and vision” has been captured on reel to convey the message of education to the deprived millions in India.

The film I am Kalam is already going places and has won the best feature film award and the Don Quixote Prize at the Lucas International Film Festival in Germany.

Produced by the Smile Foundation and Eleeanora Images Private Limited, the film had its world premiere at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival last May and will now be screened at the prestigious London Children Film Festival and Asia Pacific Screen Award. Few, however, know that Nila Madhab Panda, co-producer and director of the film, hails from a non-descript village in Sonepur district.

Set in Rajasthan, the film is the story of Chhotu alias Kalam, who cannot aspire for education because of his family’s poverty-stricken status. Through an entertaining and fast-paced narrative, the film takes the viewer to the world of Chhotu, who at one point starts referring to himself as Kalam after watching the missile man speak on television about how he got his education fighting several odds.

Panda said: “Naming himself Kalam has more than a symbolic meaning for Chhotu, a name thrust upon him by customers at the dhaba who, like most of us, insensitively calling all of them ‘Chhotu’ or the small one.”

Chhotu’s life takes an unexpected turn as he befriends Prince Ranvijay. His father, an erstwhile “king” of a princely state, runs a heritage hotel at his ancestral palace across the street, where Chhotu goes to deliver tea to the guests.

The kids bond big time and Chhotu starts getting his education informally, courtesy Ranvijay’s old books and interaction with costumers.

The film strikes a chord with the viewers thanks to the heart-touching acting by Delhi slum boy Harsh Mayar. Mayar as Chhotu represents, in a way, millions of other kids who could become Kalams but for the unfortunate circumstances they find themselves in.

Panda said, “The film is a story of struggle that I have faced and observed since my own childhood. The film celebrates the spirit of survival against overwhelming odds.” Panda’s father Aditya Prasad said: “I am proud that my son never studied in famous schools and colleges but has managed to achieve what many would be dreaming of. After completing his college studies, he asked me for Rs 2,000 to go to Delhi. And there he has carved a niche for himself.” 

October 7, 2010 at 4:31 pm 5 comments



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