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Nila Madhab Panda

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Nila Madhab Panda

Nila Madhab Panda
Born (1973-10-18) 18 October 1973
Sonepur, Odisha, India
Occupation Film Maker, Director
Years active 1998–Present
Spouse(s) Barnali Rath Panda
Relatives Manav Rath (Brother)
Ritu Rath (Sister)

Nila Madhab Panda (born 18 October 1973) ) is a filmmaker and social activist from Dasharajpur, in Subarnapur district of Odisha.[1] I Am Kalam was Panda’s first feature film as a director. It has won him many national and international awards.

Early life

He was born in a humble background, a joint family of 31 members in a poverty stricken village, where Panda was the youngest of 7 brothers. Where an additional mouth to feed was a struggle, education was also a luxury. Since the elder brothers were getting their basic education, and most of the other elders were unemployed, the family could not afford Panda’s schooling. Being the true visionary we know him as today, he created his own means to shape his destiny from an early age. He has become one of the most successful entrepreneur today. Panda’s first school was in the village, a school without a building, without even classrooms, where he made ends meet by cleaning lavatories and helping his teacher with odd jobs, household chores, even working on his land. At medium elementary level, Panda had to cross a river, and go through mud paths on foot, in the middle of perennial Odisha rainfall and clogged lands, since there was no actual road that led to his school. Far from being pampered as the youngest son of the household, Panda remained more of a sacrificial soul. On the rare occasion when the menu for the day would be mutton biryani, a delicacy, he would readily forego his meagre share for his elder brothers. High school was 9 kilometres away from home, for which Panda was given the family bicycle, an eight-inch model bought in 1976. Having had 6 generations of owners before him, it was in a rusty and dilapidated condition by the time it reached Panda, who had to almost carry it to school, rather than ride on it. Entering through the gates of his school was a daily moment of shame, as the girls huddled there to welcome him would laugh derisively at the ‘buddha (old) bicycle boy’. What Panda continued to hold close to his heart were his stories, that he enjoyed narrating to his friends and other boys in the village. As if the struggle for an education was not enough, a much more emotionally distressing aspect of his childhood was his relationship with his mother, who suffered from schizophrenia. It was an almost every day routine as she would leave the house in the morning and wander around alone in the village, till Panda would be back home from school/college in the afternoon and set out to look for her, bringing her back home by nightfall. In 1995, at the age of 22, Panda ran away from his house and moved to Delhi. Egging him on were the big dreams in his eyes, which helped him sustain even while doing small jobs to be able to afford a square meal every day. Sharing a room with 5 other boys, he did household work, cooked and cleaned for his flatmates in lieu of his share of the rent. The string of odd jobs continued as he sold socks and accessories, and later mobile phones, at Chandni Chowk. He sold his first phone to Arindam Chaudhuri. One thing led to another and he landed himself a job as a camera attendant. It was then that he learnt the intricacies of filmmaking, which was the first stepping stone for his lifelong tryst with the medium, leading on to a life of great fame and accomplishment. He also studied Entrepreneurship at IIM Bangalore.


In 1998, Madhab founded Eleeanora Images, a multimedia production house producing diverse and cutting edge films from India. He is also the Founder and Executive Director of the International screen writers lab, which focuses on creating quality scripts for Indian Cinema, quality children cinema with the British Council, The royal Netherlands embassy, and Saregama, the European Union Media International Programme, Eon Productions, Goethe Institute in Germany, Cinekid in Amsterdam, Children’s Film Society, India. It's a result of his focused efforts, that has started off a sort of a movement towards creating New Wave Indian Cinema and a children cinema movement in India, He also is the Indian Creative Associate for the UK Arts Council funded 'Moti Roti 360 Degrees' and commissioned 60 short films in India-pakisthan and London. He was also selected in the International cultural Leadership programme, by Arts council London, Creative and cultural skills, and Museums, library and archives. He has produced and directed over 70 shorts, documentaries, television drama and films for national broadcasters, the BBC, Discovery Channel, NGC and private producers.[4] His films have won him several awards. He has also served on the juries of several national and international film festivals. Most of his films have unique insights drawn from his life, which has been a long journey from a village based in a tribal area of India, to metropolitan cities across the globe. A story he encountered while shooting for a documentary, which later on went to take on the shape of a Feature Film called I Am Kalam, is all set for released in 2010, become an iconic film in India winning over 30 awards (27 International award, one national award, one film fare and screen award). The film is a new wave world cinema from India. The film has already been highly appreciated by global audiences, with the international distribution channels giving it high priority. Apart from his films and numerous awards, he has also received a UK Film Fellowship and United Nations Media Fellowship, and has been awarded by the British Council's Creative Futures Programme in 2007. His first window to the world was working with Barbara Brocholli(producer of James Bond movies) and Robin Romanov. His second feature film “Jalpari”, was also well received by audience and was highly acclaimed. It received the MIP Junior award at Cannes. His third feature film “Babloo Happy Hai”, released this year, well appreciated by audience and critics in India. His new film- “Kaun Kitney pani mein, a satire set up in rural India on water crisis in India. The film talks about the current scenario & how water will become a scarce currency unless we save and manage it. It's the first film of his trilogy.


Feature films

Year Title Notes
2011 I Am Kalam[2]
2012 Jalpari (film)
2014 Babloo Happy Hai
2014 Broken Hills[3]

2014 Kaun Kitney Paani Mein (post production)


  • Swajaldhara (8 min Hindi) – On rural water supply in India and Panchayats involvement, for Ministry of Rural development and WHO.
  • Water — our lifeline (7 min Hindi and English) – A launching film “fresh water year 2005” by Ministry of Rural development, GOI.
  • Smile again (25 min English) – On rehabilitation of orphan children in an innovative way by district administration of Ganjam, Odisha, Government of Odisha.
  • Desert rose (15 min each in English) – A two parts film discovering the perennial new water sources in the desert of Rajasthan, India. For Development Alternatives.
  • Anukampan (20 min English and Oriya) – On disaster preparedness in Odisha. Disaster Mitigation Authority and Odisha Government.
  • Hope again (21min English) – On the rehabilitation and recovery after super cyclone 1999 in Odisha. Government of Odisha and UNDP.
  • Hum Hongekamyab (20 min English) – On the youth and adolescence activism on health. For Creche, NGO
  • 21st century folktale — Bonda tribe (21 min English) – On the indigenous tribe Bonda, whose population was stagnant for past many decades because of high infant mortality and maternal mortality rate, which is growing now after an initiative by an NGO, for Action Aid.
  • Hope rekindles (18 min English) – On one of the biggest success story of 100% sanitation area (Nandigram II) in West Bengal. For Ministry of Rural Development, GOI, Rajiv Gandhi Drinking water Mission and WHO.
  • Climate’s first Orphans (22 min English and Hindi) – A film on the impact of climate change in India, UK High commission and Discovery channel.[4][5][6]
  • Ab Desh Chalana Hey (8 min Hindi) – On women empowerment and women in panchayats of India. Ministry panchayati raj, GOI and the hunger project.
  • I Dare to Dream (28 min English) – A film on the children works in railway lines of India.
  • Brick by Brick (17 min English) – A film on low–cost housing in disaster–prone areas.
  • Letter to Ma (UN Fellowship film) (21 min English) – A film on the usage of information technology in rural areas of India.
  • Sankalpa (18 min English and Oriya) – On sanitation movement in India.
  • ShikshaYatra – On the massive education movement in India by KailashSatyarthi.
  • Breezing Sandunes (17 min English) – On the developmental work by CECODECON.
  • Dancing in times (20 min each in English)– A series of four–part documentary on the dances of Kalahandi area of Odisha
  • Angaan Angaan Kilkari (16 min each) – A two-part docudrama on adolescence.
  • Samaya Sagara Tire – 50 years completion of Hirakud Dam.
  • Boond – Panchayat and Gram Shabha’s involvement in community–based work in villages for UNDP and government.
  • Faces of history – On 50 years of India’s Independence.
  • Swavimaaan – On the success of self–help group in India
  • Chilika – Gets a new lease of life, government of Odisha.
  • Konark – Ministry of Tourism Advertisement and corporate film.
  • We will grow – On Rural development
  • A heart for art – A film on the government efforts to preserve traditional folk art in Odisha.


  • Atmajaa (Hindi TV serial 52 episodes) – The story of this television series revolves around protagonist Mamta, a woman who was coerced by her husband and Mother in law to abort her girl child after the sex of the fetus had been forcibly determined through an ultrasound. But Mamta had secretly managed to save her baby girl who was given up for adoption by the doctor who delivered her. Six years later history repeated itself, as Mamta got pregnant again. But this time she left her husband’s home to save her second child and search for her first daughter. The first phase of the series concluded with Mamta finding her daughter, Atmajaa, in an orphanage and Mamta’s husband realizing his mistake and giving himself up to the law under the PNDT Act. It has also showcased Panchayat’s involvement and gramsabha. For Ministry of Health and Family welfare, GOI and Plan International, USAID and SIDA.
  • Chiraag (Hindi TV serial of 26 episodes) – Village drama on gender and politics. For Ministry of Health and Family welfare, GOI and the Embassy of the Netherlands.

Short films

  • Lali’s world (40 min Oriya) – Story of Lali, who was withdrawn from the school as the father could not effort to continue. It’s Lali’s struggle to go to school. For Govt of Odisha and UNDP
  • Kinara (40 min Hindi) – On male participation in contraception in India. For Ministry of Health and family welfare, GOI and PFI.
  • Pahel (7 min Hindi) – On different procedure of contraception, for Population services International.
  • Chupee (40 min) – The story revolves around a young school teacher, Jasmine, in a local school in Goa. She is haunted by memories of the sexual abuse and subsequent suicide of her kid sister. A shy withdrawn girl in her class, Khushi, reminds her of her dead sister, who she eventually be friends. For Govt of Odisha and UNDP.
  • Atmajaa (30 min) – The pressure on Ruchi the daughter–in–law of the rich Munjal household and Urmila the maid, to go in for the medical termination of their pregnancies when both of them have conceived girls. The ultimate voice of the film is Dr. Suranya Kumar, Ruchi’s sister-in-law and Urmila’s employer. For Ministry of Health and Family welfare, GOI and Plan International, USAID and SIDA.

Corporate films and public service advertising

  • 3 TV spot on female foeticide For Ministry of Health and Family welfare, GOI and Plan International.
  • 2 Animation TV spot on sanitation in Hindi, for Ministry of Rural development and WHO.
  • 6 TV spot in Hindi, for Ministry of Rural development and WHO.
  • 3 TV spot on No scalpel vasectomy, for Ministry of Health and Family welfare and PFI.
  • 2 TV spot on Birth spacing.
  • 4 TVC on right to education, with Unesco, care India, save the children fun and Ministry of human resources development.
  • Corporate films for Wapcos (2 Films), Times, Michelin tyre, NIIT, Allahbad bank.


Year Award Note
2002 United Nations Visual Media fellowship
2003 Heroism in Cinematography by THP, New York
2005 UK Film Fellowship
2006 Creative Futures of India (Longest Journey award) by British Council[7]
2010 Excellence in media for fighting the cause Female foeticide
2011 Aravindan Puraskaram best debut director award for I Am Kalam[8]
2011 Odisha icon
2012 Odisha Living Legend Award for Social service films by OdishaDiary[9]

2013- Won Thinkers 50 Award 2013 "Cultural ambassador of Odisha" 2013 Nominated for citizen award 2013 of Odisha.

Film awards

Year Award
2010 “Best actor work” at the Minsk International Film Festival
2010 Winner of “Best feature film” from the Indian Panorama by the Young Jury at the 41st International, Film Festival of India
2010 Winner of “The Don Quixote Prize” of the International Cine Club Federations at the Lucas International Film Festival, Germany
2010 Winner of “Best feature film” at the Lucas International Film Festival, Frankfurt
2010 “Special Jury mention” CineKid International Film Festivals
2010 “Audience Favourite choice” at the Barbican London Children Film Festival
2010 “International Jury’s Special Mention” at the Ale Kino International Film Festival, Poland
2011 Viewers’ Choice award at IFFLA
2011 Best Feature Film in Chicago International Children’s Film Festival
2011 People's Choice Award at the Montreal International Children's Film Festival
2011 Best Feature Film award at Silent River Film Festival (SRFF), California
2011 Best Director award at Silent River Film Festival (SRFF), California
2011 Best Child Actor award at Silent River Film Festival (SRFF), California
2011 Special Diploma for the Best Actor Work at Minsk International Film Festival Listapadzi
2011 Best Debut Director – Aravindam Purashkaram
2011 Golden Elephant Award for the Best Screenplay at 17th International Children’s Film Festival, India
2011 Special Mention to Harsh Mayar at the 17th International Children’s Film Festival of India
2011 Best Feature Film in CMS International Film Festival
2011 National Award for best child actor
2011 Audience Favourite at Barbican London Children’s Film Festival
2012 Bronze Cairo for Best Feature at Cairo International Film Festival for Children, Cairo
2012 The Prize of the International Centre of Films For Children & Young People (CIFEJ) at the Cairo International Film Festival for Children, Cairo
2012 Best Feature Film, Dream Fest – Slatina
2012 “Jalpari” Got MIP Junior award for best film, Cannes


  1. ^ "The story that Kalam inspired".  
  2. ^ "I Am Kalam: Smile of a dreamer".  
  3. ^ "India's Film Bazaar Shortlists Co–production, Mentoring Projects". Hollywood Reporter. 16 November 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "Climate’s First Orphans by Nila Madhab Panda". 2009-02-09. Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  5. ^ "Climate's First Orphans' by Nila Madhab Panda, 'Concern Planet' Initiative to be conducted on a National canvas".  
  6. ^ "Child scientist conducts programme on climate change at Kalaigaon". Assam Times. 20 July 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  7. ^ "Honors". Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  8. ^ "Awards". news.fullorissa. 26 July 2011. Retrieved 9 September 2011. 
  9. ^ "Odisha Living Legend Award conferred on internationally acclaimed Film Maker Nila Madhab Panda". 14 November 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 

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