Date:30/06/2011 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/mp/2011/06/30/stories/2011063051320100.htm
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Think small, reap big

Nila Madhab Panda, director of ‘I am Kalam,' on films

Photo: V.V. Krishnan

for a social cause Nila Madhab Panda (far right) with his team

“Independent Cinema, if created with artistic content, reflecting true India in an entertaining way, has a big potential market. In a country that produces the maximum number of films in the world every year, most films fail because of lack of content,” says director Nila Madhab Panda.

Delhi-based Panda, who hails from a remote village in Orissa, is part of India's emerging generation of innovative filmmakers with the international success of his debut feature film, I Am Kalam. Produced by the NGO Smile Foundation, the film premiered at the Market Section of the Cannes film festival. The director says the film is inspirational and touching, focusing on the importance of small joys in life. “It's all about how you can win the world with a smile. You can achieve your goal if you work hard.” He says the plot revolves around the life of a poor struggling kid, Chhotu (played by Harsh Mayar), and how he overcomes obstacles to fulfil his dream. “Chhotu works as a helper at a dhaba (local restaurant) in a small village. He dreams of going to school and becoming a successful person. One day, while working, he comes across an interview of the then President of India, Abdul Kalam on TV. Inspired by the interview, he becomes all the more committed to fulfil his dream, and finally achieves it,” says Panda.

Showcased in over 25 leading international festivals, the film has won many awards, including the Best Child Artiste at the 58th National Film Awards, Best Feature Film at the 41st International Film Festival of India, Goa 2010, and Lucas International Film Festival, Germany 2010.

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