Posts filed under ‘Inspiring Stories’

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

Jayanti Mahanand of Balangir an inspirational young talent

Following report is from the express buzz:

BALANGIR: With a pencil between two fingers of her right toe, she flawlessly drew on the theme of ‘sanitation and health education’ much to the surprise of people around her.

The 12-year-old Jayanti Mahanand was born with smaller arms. However, this did not quell her appetite for art. She says that she had always been spellbound by pictures. She has been drawing since the age of three. Her ability to draw with her legs was noticed at the Sishu Utsav, a Sarva Sikhsha Abhiyan (SSA)-sponsored programme, held here recently on the Town Girls High School premises. She was one of the participants in the painting contest in the junior category. She completed the painting in less than half-an-hour, well before other competitors.

Not just a good painter but Jayanti has also been a good student throughout. She writes her examinations with her right leg and even for drawing straight lines, Jayanti does not require a scale. “I can write and draw anything with my right foot,” she says. She aspires to be an artist in future.

District Project Coordinator of SSA Abhimanyu Behera said they were encouraging such talents and the SSA would provide all possible support to these children.

“Jayanti has a rare talent and we discovered her during the Sishu Utsav. We are planning to raise some funds for her so that she gets to hone her skills,” said Behera.

November 8, 2010 at 7:38 pm 1 comment

ZeeTV saregamapa singing contest; Vote for Sniti Mishra

Following report is from the Samaja (Please note that there is a printing mistake (encircled in red) in the following report. While sending SMS please write Sniti). Thank to Mr. Bijaya Kumar Meher for pointing out the mistake.

October 30, 2010 at 4:30 pm 3 comments

Poet Sanjaya Mishra of Kantabanjhi, Balangir pens the tale of migration and poverty

Following is a report from the Telegraph:

Balangir, Oct. 26 (Report by SUDEEP KUMAR GURU): Young poet Sanjaya Mishra has chosen poetry as the medium to depict the poverty, pathos and hunger of Balangir.

Mishra’s series of poems titled “Urmila” is a major work in this connection. In this series, Urmila, the wife of Laxman, talks about the different aspects of poverty in Balangir.

The poet says that he has taken the character of Urmila as a symbol of the hunger in the district. “In the Ramayana, Laxman, along with Rama and Sita go to the forest leaving behind Urmila to look after the old Dasaratha and Kausalya. Similarly, many hungry people in present day Balangir migrate to other states for work leaving behind the numerous Urmilas to look after the old and ailing family members. I have tried to highlight the burning issue of poverty in this part of country through these legendary characters in my poems,” said Mishra, who has so far penned more than 100 poems in the “Urmila” series and some of them have already been published in different magazines.

In his poems, Mishra focuses mostly on the deprivation, poverty, distress, migration and the other socio-cultural problems and pathos of the people of the migrant community. Crop failure, failure of entitlement and other dimensions of rural poverty forms an integral part of his poems. What drove Mishra to write about these people of the lesser god?

“I live in Kantabanjhi, which is the epicentre of migration in Balangir. I have seen the suffering of the people from close quarters. I want to serve them through my poems. I intend to give a voice to the voiceless,” he said.

Mishra has been writing poems in both Oriya and Sambalpuri language for the last two decades. His Sambalpuri poetry collection Maraguda published in the year 2006 won appreciation. The title of the book, which means lost civilisation, talks about the flora, fauna, folk tradition, culture, local beliefs and customs, folk gods and goddess in a lively manner. His piece on Hirakud dam in the same collection has been widely acclaimed.

The poet has done extensive research on folk ballad of western Orissa. Santosh Rath of the Oriya department of Jawahar College of Patnagarh describes Sanjaya as an excellent poet.

“His collection of ballads from different parts of western Orissa and its analysis is a rare work,” Rath said. Mishra is now attached with the department of Oriya in Jawahar College of Patnagarh in the capacity of a research scholar supported by UGC.

He has been selected for the travel grant fellowship by the Kendra Sahitya Academy and also selected for the SAARC poetry festival for his literary excellence.

His publications include Agantuka (1999), Bhangi Padiba Agaru (2006) and Dhasa(2010).

October 27, 2010 at 7:13 pm Leave a comment

ZeeTV saregamapa singing superstar contest; Please vote for Sniti Mishra

Following is some information about Sniti Mishra from

Sniti Mishra is a classical singer, She has her own style of singing. In mega audition of Zee Saregamapa Sniti Mishra sang Humein Tumse Pyar Kitna in her own way, completely different from the filmy track and this impressed judges of Zee Saregamapa Singing Superstar. During Mega audition Sniti Mishra got the positive result instantly from Sajid. A little training can make Sniti Mishra one of the tough contestant of Zee Saregamapa Singing Superstar 2010.

Sniti Mishra belongs to a small place in Orissa, Bolangir district, classical touch in the singing of Sniti Mishra is always appealing. Shy look, feel full expression but talented skill and confident singing gave Sniti Mishra a place in top 18 contestant of Zee Saregamapa Singing Superstar 2010

Here is how to vote for Sniti Mishra:

To vote Sniti Mishra,  SMS Sniti to 57575 or Call: 1862424757506

Also, here you can vote online:

October 20, 2010 at 8:04 am 19 comments

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

Older Posts Newer Posts



Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 468 other followers

%d bloggers like this: