A filmography of Nila madhab Panda's works throughout industries including features, documentaries and shorts.

When you are young, you are often asked what you want to be when you grow up. Well, I can't say I had the kind of childhood in which I was asked that question too many times.

The world through Nila's lens. A collection of photo albums.

A brief profile about Nila Madhab Panda, an internationally acclaimed film maker and his official Twitter feeds.

    • On dreams

      When you are young, you are often asked what you want to be when you grow up. Well, I can't say I had the kind of childhood in which I was asked that question too many times. But that does not mean it did not cross my mind. My views on the matter changed every day, of course, the fickle mind of a child would wander away to many shores. It is amazing, the dreams we dare to dream at that age. There is nothing more energetic, I believe, than the imagination of a child. The world is your oyster, and the possibilities are endless.

      If there is anything that has stayed with me from my childhood days, it is those dreams. This ability to dream big, and bigger, is what keeps me going. And I believe it is what keeps this world running; hopes and dreams. When you aim for the sky, the worst you can do is probably fall on a treetop. And even that is an experience worth remembering, don't you think?

    • On inspiration

      When I am asked questions like, what inspires you? Or who inspires you? I am always stumped. I believe that I am a self-inspired person. I do not follow anyone, I have always been my own person, and I love it that way. I know how such a thought can often be seen as egotism, but it is not as simplistic as that. My beliefs, my actions, my thoughts, all come from my own experiences in past. If there is anything that has inspired me in life in this case, it is my own circumstances. They make me who I am today. I don't understand this need to borrow from others' lives, and others' situations, when our own lives are so overwhelming. Every moment, every day, all of 86,400 seconds per day, life is infinite. But people constantly undermine their own experiences, they keep selling themselves short. They have little faith in their own lives, in the value of their own thoughts, the richness of their own experiences, because as a generation we are constantly taught to look outside for everything. I look inside.

    • On experience

      Nothing has ever come easy to me. Not love, not relationship, not work, not success, not even life. There have been no free lunches. The good, the bad, the ugly in my life, cannot be separated from one another. It's all one. Life is ruthless, but not unkind. There will always be elements trying to tear you apart from every end, but you need to fight it out. At the end of the day, life is what you make of it. Good and bad, ugly and beautiful, are merely two sides of the same coin, and it is in your hands, and your hands only, to flip it in your favour. And it is this balance that I try to create every day.

      I know that as a human being, I am completely dispensable. Everyone is. Our lives on this earth are completely dispensable; the earth would not stop spinning without me, or you, or anyone. It is an extremely humbling fact that no one should ever be allowed to forget. And it is this sentiment that drives me, that inspires me to make a mark, to create something of value, to make my presence felt on this earth, because I am just as special as anybody else. It is important to never take oneself too seriously, but on the other hand, it is equally important to take life very seriously, as it's all we've got. Every human life counts in its own way. It is up to me to make mine worth something.

    • On creativity & Innovation

      It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. More than 'invention', replace that with 'innovation'; and you pretty much have a picture of how any industry works today. The phenomenon of change is everyday, it is in our lives each moment, and we as human beings need to constantly adapt to this change, and recreate.

      On a more macroscopic level, many people may realise the need for change but it is not every person who can envision a change-making process for the future. Without innovation and creative thinking, there is no tomorrow. We, as a people, will be stuck at a dead end, with no development, no progress.

      The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow. We need to stay away from such complacency, never be too comfortable in our shoes, too comfortable with everything around us, or we can never have the discernment to bring change.

      As a child, my father wanted me to become an Administrative Officer, a secure, respectable job that would give me sufficient salary, and a healthy pension to spend the rest of my life on. But I knew I would not be able to survive in such an arrangement, where I actually sell myself, my ideas, without any greater vision, just for a stable career so to speak. I would prefer to take risks all my life, and die a happier soul, knowing that I made something of my life in the time that I spent in this world.

      What I wanted to do; was create. To think, to envision the larger picture, look around me and take into account peoples' wants and needs, and create something that will help us to walk into the future, as a smarter race. Because an idea is greater than you or I. A creation, be it in any field, is greater than any person living or dead. You and I could die tomorrow, but these ideas live on, these creations are eternal.

    • On cinema

      Cinema is a dynamic medium. It is also a constantly evolving medium of expression that has come a long way through decades of experimentation and the pure genius of the many greats of cinema, worldwide. What is important in this journey is that the medium has gone through constant change, and innovation, which keeps the art of cinema alive. It is after all, a tool for mass communication, and must inspire change, or in fact progress, in the minds of its viewers. Therein lies the biggest victory of any medium of communication, and cinema has long been the beacon of change for many, inspiring billions all over the world. A great man once said, 'If photography is truth, then cinema is truth 24 times per second.'

      If we study the recent years of Indian cinema through the same lens, it is rather disappointing to see a certain amount of stagnation in the industry. Fact is that what used to be an art, a voice for pure thought and reason, has become nothing more than a commodity for the said industry. In these times of showbiz and sensationalism, a sensation is created out of non-issues, and is sold in the market like cheap soap. The art of cinema has lost its value, and it calls for some serious thinking and willingness to bring about a change, starting now. There should remain some difference between selling films, and selling soap, don't you think?

      This is not to say that every film should have a relevant social issue attached to it, or some sort of larger message to be proclaimed to the masses. Not at all. Cinema's foremost aim is, has always been, and will always be – to entertain. But our idea of entertainment needs to come out of its restrictive cage. Every film we make is a mirror of our society, a mirror that reflects both ways. Just as films are borrowed from real people and real events, the masses also borrow a lot from their films, hence making cinema a 'change-making' tool. In such a scenario, and especially in a country where watching films is no less than a religion, the filmmaker must act responsibly and aim to create a film that takes society forward. As hallowed as the phrase is made out to be, it is indeed true that with great power, does come great responsibility. Nobody can deny the power of cinema, the sheer captivation, the magic of the moving pictures, and hence filmmakers, the great creators, have no choice but to be aware of the responsibility on their shoulders.

      In a country where the subjugation of women is so commonplace, starting from birth to death, whether in the form of foeticide, infanticide, or in the form of dowry deaths and widow burning, the least we can expect is our media to attempt to paint a different picture, a more progressive picture, whether on TV or celluloid. If the women in our films continue to be suppressed, ill-treated, given second place in all fronts, what hope do the masses have? Like I mentioned before, it is not just films that imitate reality, our masses also imitate their favourite films, and it hence becomes a vicious cycle of cause and behaviour. The filmmaker's responsibility is of paramount importance at such a conjecture. Regressive ideas, notions, beliefs, need to be received with the contempt they deserve, and discarded at the earliest.

      We are a developing country, a developing economy, a developing society, and no development is possible as long as our minds don't truly develop. Progress in mindset is first and foremost for any real change to take place. If women in our films continue to play second fiddle, and trophy characters to the man's pride, our children will never learn how to respect women, and hence grow up to be yet another generation with a sadly limited outlook, an extremely narrow world view. Not only to art, but we have an even bigger responsibility to these children, the youth, the future generations. These are impressionable minds that can be easily corrupted by regressive ideas in films. The time has also come to stop underestimating our audience, especially our children, who have the potential to understand a lot more than we filmmakers or in fact we 'adults' often give them credit for. It is a lame excuse for bad cinema, to say that we are only catering to 'audience taste' or expectation. It is time to give them some credit; the masses are much smarter than we would like to believe, and instead of taking the easier way out, we should also have the guts to give them something to think about in our films. Good cinema is that which makes us laugh; great cinema is that which moves us to tears; but the greatest cinema is always the one that can make us 'think'. We can take into account the success of many recent films, small or mid-budget films in the industry, though few, but nonetheless admirable, that shows that the Indian audience is ready to try out something worthwhile, something new in cinema.

      Yes, with respect to these films, you could say that we have grown to a considerable extent. On an international level, the Indian presence at Cannes and several other film festivals has surely become more prominent. But the truth remains that these films are only few and far between. For an industry that churns out the largest number of films per year, when compared to any other film-watching country worldwide, what, I ask, could be the reason that we have such minimal visibility on the international arena? Why is it that a country that mass-produces films for possibly the biggest film-watching audience in the world has almost no identity whatsoever internationally?

      It is not a case of limited talent, but more a case of limited aspirations.

      It is not that we need international recognition or foreign approval for our films to be considered good. No. It is not a matter as small as that. It cannot be denied, that in today's times, where the world has become a global market, and the smallest contenders in the chain can affect the biggest and vice versa, the identity of a country, a people, is of utmost significance. Our films are not just products sold in a market, they are art: which essentially implies that they are a voice of the ongoing times, a mirror of the society, the people of these times; they are records, anthropological tools of documentation, of history, for future generations. They are a part of a nation's identity in the international spectrum, and it is up to us to nurture and better this identity.

      Progressive cinema leads to a progressive society.

    • Vision

      In this nuclear age of war, death, natural and human disaster, blood, violence and fear, we intend to create a world that is peaceful, tranquil, and harmonious. Every human being's ultimate aim is to help create and live in a humane, peaceful and sustainable ecosystem. What better way to propagate this way of life, but through entertainment; and cinema, the most superior form of the arts.

      A single human lifetime is too short a span of time to waste on hate and sham. The earth is a beautiful place in the universe, which has given us a place to live, air to breath, food to eat and water to drink, and human beings have taken it for granted over the ages. It is time to pay back.

      Our vision is that through the most entertaining and popular art form, we will pioneer a new age and create a new human revolution in this 21st century.


    • Photo Credit: Shiv Ahuja

      Photo Credit: Shiv Ahuja

    • Photo Credit: Ali Zaidi

      Photo Credit: Ali Zaidi

    • Photo Credit: Ali Zaidi

      Photo Credit: Ali Zaidi

    • Photo Credit: Ali Zaidi

      Photo Credit: Ali Zaidi

    • Photo Credit: Ali Zaidi

      Photo Credit: Ali Zaidi

    • Photo Credit: Shiv Ahuja

      Photo Credit: Shiv Ahuja

    • Photo Credit: Shiv Ahuja

      Photo Credit: Shiv Ahuja

    • Photo Credit: Shiv Ahuja

      Photo Credit: Shiv Ahuja
  • Profile

    Nila Madhab Panda, Film Maker

    Nila Madhab Panda is an internationally acclaimed film maker.

    Panda has produced and directed over 70 diverse and cutting edge films, documentaries and shorts. These films are based on important social issues such as climate change, child labor, education, water issues, sanitation and many other developmental issues across the globe. His films have won him several awards and critical acclaim. Most of his films have unique insights drawn from his own life, the metaphorical distance that he has traversed from a small obscure village based in one of the remotest parts of India, to metropolitan cities across the globe. His films are entertaining, yet portray profusely socially relevant themes; driving home the point that films can be a powerful medium of positive social change. His interesting works on corporate advertising is another feather in his cap.

    His first iconic feature film, the highly-acclaimed 'I am Kalam', has won 32 International awards, one national award. Amongst the most prestigious he won Viewers' Choice award at IFFLA, People's Choice Award at the Montreal, Best Feature Film and best director award in California, Most prestigious "The Don Quixote Prize" of the ICCF at Germany, Best film at Frankfurt and Bronze Cairo, The Prize of the International Center of Films For Children & Young People, Best film from the Indian Panorama by the Young Jury at the IFFI, Goa, Best Debut Director Aravindam Purashkaram, and many more.

    His second feature film "Jalpari", about female feticide and gender equality, was also well received by audience and was highly acclaimed. It received the prestigious, MIP Junior award at Cannes. His third feature film "Babloo Happy Hai", was well received, based on Youths and HIV/AIDS. It was also well appreciated by audience and critics in India. His fourth film "Kaun Kitney Paani Mein", a satire on water crisis in India got released last August, 2015. The film is highly critically acclaimed. The film talks about the current scenario & how water will become a scarce currency unless we save and manage it.

    Panda has founded the "International Screenwriters Lab" in India to create quality family and children's film scripts in Asian Cinema. He also served as the "Indian Creative Associate" for the UK Arts Council-funded 60x60 programme, which commissioned 60 short films on home and beyond in India, the UK and Pakistan.

    He believes that a good story well told can inspire and compel social change.

    Apart from film awards, He has been honored "India's Creative Future in 2007" and got the "Longest Journey Award" from the IIM-B & the British Council. "United Nations Media Fellow" by UN, UK Film Fellowship in 2005, "Excellence in Media" for his work on socially relevant issues, in 2010, received the "Karmaveer Puraskar-2011", on his contribution on social issues through film medium, Living Legend of Odisha Award 2012, Odisha Icon 2011, Asia-Pacific Entrepreneurship award. Cultural ambassador of Odisha 2013, Honoured as "Odia pua- Son of Odisha 2012", recently honored "Bharat Gaurav".

    Mr. Panda has been honoured with the prestigious "Padma Shri" Award by the President of India, in 2016.

    • Kadvi Hawa (Dark Wind)

      Kadvi Hawa (Dark wind)

      Once famous for it's farming, the people of Mahua region have forgotten the earthy scent of rain fall on their soil. Erratic and receding rainfall has led many farmers into debt traps set out as loans offered by banks. Unable to grow food grain anymore and to escape repayments, the only way out is sacrificing their own life i.e. suicide. A blind father of a farmer fears his depressed son may do the same.

      Ruthless in his ways to repossess loans, a bank agent arrives with a growing list of suicides attributed to him. People call him a 'death god'. The father finds his son's life threatened by a lack of water and pressure of bank repayment. Each wanting to save their own family, they end up helping one another. Human emotions take over inhuman realities of climate change.

      In case of the agent, fierce sea, regular floods and frequent cyclone threatens his family in the coastal village of Satabhaya (East of India). The blind father meets the agent with a request to defer his son's debt. Angry rejection from the agent and mutual dislike soon develops into an odd partnership. Each wanting to save their own family, they end up helping one another. Human emotions take over inhuman realities of climate change.

      Embroiled together, their fates tremble under the pressure of two extreme weather conditions.

      Dark wind, is not just a fiction. It's an eye-opening portrayal of the suffering of people and it is a wakeup call for the society still unprepared to face the consequences of their actions on climate change.

      COMING SOON...
    • Kaun Kitney Paani Mein

      A satire on water crisis where water actually becomes so scare that it's elevated to (or reduced) the trade currency for all transactions! Set in the rain-shadow areas of Orissa, Kaun Kitney Paani Mein travels between two villages fighting over water reservoir, since a couple of decades.

      Its a story of the two warring villages, Upri (The Exalted) and Bairi (The Outsiders) that have always been divided because of money, caste and power hierarcy. Initially, there existed only one village for its powerful kingdom and great economic and social status. Bairi was created as a place of banishment for those who went against the king.

      Thirty years back, love between 2 castes led to the total banishment of "the workers" from Upri to the newly created village of Bairi. This Scarcity propels the new king to realize that he has only one trump card and that is his son raj. He coerces his osn to go and impregnate the daughter of the Bairi Village chieftain.

      What the king has not factored in, is the changes in raj when he goes to bairi. He falls in love with the girl instead. The film takes a satrical look against the backdrop of a traditional love story but all set in a realm where water is the new currency.

      The film resides in the genre of satire, a rare-to-come by treatment in Indian cinema, where an ever rarer plotline aimed at positive social outcome.

      Not since "Jaane bhi do yaaron" a film like this has been attempted where the sureal and the real lose their boundaries and lead to a serious discussion. Produced with both scale and grandeur, with multi-location shoots in the heart of Orissa, with grand music, action and dollops romance – the film will tickle the heart and tackle the mind with a Firm grip.

    • Babloo Happy Hai

      When we love, we see no reason.
      The very essence of love, at its truest, thrives on the unreasonable.

      'Babloo Happy Hai' is a film that embraces these words, as it takes you on a journey through the breathtaking mountains, and through the lives of a set of memorable characters who will make you think again about love, and fall in love with love itself. It is a story set in the fast-paced times we live in today, concerning those who are forced to move the fastest - our youth.

      Amidst the common notions of irreverence and rebellion, the youth of today is troubled by many questions, puzzled by many choices, battling with a lot of pressures; wandering perhaps, but not entirely lost. The most basic of these conflicts, however, remains the question of love.

      The film begins in the posh neighbourhoods of the capital, New Delhi, where 24 year old Jatin is planning a road trip up north with his buddies Harvinder (a.k.a. Harry) and Rohan. For Jatin, the endearing young groom-to-be, this could be the last such youthful indulgence before he gets tied down (quite literally) by bride-to-be Tamanna, who is a bratty, high society number, gleefully building on her idea of a 'perfect' life starting with a 'perfect' wedding . While the hardly-perfect Jatin's 'love' is one of much labour, Harry's hopeless quest for love (or something like it) lands the happy-go-lucky Sardar in positions he had only dreamt of. Rohan, usually the voice of reason amongst the three, is going through a rough patch with his long-time boyfriend, and hopes to get some much needed fresh air and good old guy fun with his buddies in the mountains.

      Enter, the wild child; Natasha. The prodigal daughter of this tale, who kick-starts it all with (what Jatin assumes is) a one-night stand after the bachelor party, followed by numerous meetings; some coincidental, others deliberate, driving our hero deeper into a dilemma between 'duty' and 'love' that only gets worse as there are revelations that leave everyone stunned.

      Completing this intricate picture, are Deepa and Harsh, a good-humoured, dynamic couple in their mid-thirties, much in love, with much to teach this young bunch, who in turn not only adore and admire the two, but even envy how perfectly they complement each other as companions. Love blossoms as it only can in the snow-laden valleys of Himachal, at the summit of which is the NGO Aashray, run by the couple, which somehow becomes a mid-point for all adventure and misadventure, where newer bonds are formed, just as older ones weaken.

      Whether through drunken nights or impromptu dance lessons, through intense arguments and intimate moments, Jatin and Natasha find themselves drawn towards each other. The story draws to a climax when Jatin comes face to face with a secret that Natasha has been hiding for a while. The news sends Jatin's already unsettled life, completely topsy-turvy, as his love is replaced by a bewildered hate, in spite of Natasha's efforts to clear his misunderstandings. It is when his self realisation take over his misbelieves, that he finally gives her a listen, and the true nature of the events are revealed.

      Jatin is ashamed of his failure to trust her, and embarks on one final trip to claim his love, without any more fear. Jatin embraces a unique outlook towards life, one of positivity and a fighting spirit, and of love that conquers all. Like Natasha always says:

      You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
      Love like you'll never be hurt,
      Sing like there's nobody listening,
      And live like it's heaven on earth.

    • I Am Kalam

      The plot revolves around Chhotu, a poor Rajasthani boy, who is inspired by the life of the former President of India, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam and his strong desire to learn. The character of Chhotu has been performed by Harsh Mayar, a Delhi slum boy. The film premiered at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival on May 12. It has been showcased in various film festivals and has bagged many awards and honors. The film was released in August 2011.

    • Jalpari: The Desert Mermaid

      It is also a children's cinema where Lehar Khan, Krishang Trivedi and Harsh Mayar (who won the National Film Awards for the best child artist in 2011) are on lead as child artists and Parvin Dabas, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Rahul Singh, Suhasini Mulay and V.M. Badola are on supporting roles.

      The movie centered on the issue of female foeticide is an adventure film, which is screened at Marche du Cannes film festival.

      The movie has been nominated at the prestigious Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA). The sixth APSA ceremony will be organised at Queensland, Australia on November 23, 2012. The movie has been sent to the Academy of Motion Pictures as a direct entry for the Oscar Awards in the foreign film category. Recently the film received the prestigious Audience Choice Award in Minsk International Film Festival in Belarus & selected as an official entry for International Film Festival in Montreal which will take place in March 2013. The film also won MIP Junior Kids Jury Award at Cannes in October 2012.

    • God's own People

      A feature length documentary

      Nabakalebara is a Odiya word with Pali/Sanskit origin meaning new incarnation. In the Jagannath Puri temple manual of rites and rituals, it means the change of body for the deities. This canonly take place when there is incidence of double month of Ashadha in the Hindu annual calendar. Thus it doesn't happen annually. In the year 2015 such an occasion arose after 19 years. The next would be 19 years after. Nabakalebara in practical terms means a long drawn affair conducted over four months where neem trees are selected from the hinterlands in Odisha, they are chopped and carted back to the Jagannath temple in Puri. New idols are made and the soul substance signifying immortality is transferred from the old idols to the ne. The new ones are consecrated to continue worship and the old ones are buried. The ritual humanizes Gods in real term thus. This is peculiar to Lord Jagannath in the larger domain of Hindu way of worshipping Gods.

      During this elaborate ritual, many group of temple servitors conduct their specific duties. Each justifies their association with the Gods in tangible ways invoking myths, legends and folklores. But Nabakalebara ritual requires getting out of temple premises to the rural heartlands of Odisha, People too participate getting physical proximity to this process of finding new bodies for their Gods. Thus they too find their own inimitable way to legitimize their own relationship with Them invoking simple but metaphorical associations. The entire geo-cultural zone of Odiya becomes a sacred space where they relate to God as His kith and Kin.

      God's Own People is an 80minute long creatively treated documentary film that captures this grand but soul stirring human drama told in a narrative fashion. Breaking away from conventional reportage form of documentary it scripts a tale of faith, devotion, love, longing and ultimate surrender to the God. In this collective manifestation of association with the God, poignant human narratives emerge that showcases the way Odiya people worship their God, making this relationship relatable to the world at large.

      We want to showcase this unique tale of Odiya peoples' relationship with Lord of their heart, Jagannath. Because through this process the diverse landscape of Odisha; rich and vibrant Odiya culture; aesthetics of narrative traditions, customs and material culture gets showcased as it is emotionally interwoven into this film.

    •   I Am Kalam
        Jalpari
    •   Babloo Happy Hai
        Babloo Happy Hai
    •   God's own People
        God's own People
    •   God's own People
        God's own People
    • Kadvi Hawa  Kadvi Hawa
      Kaun Kitney Paani Mein  Kaun Kitney Paani Mein
    • Kaun Kitney Paani Mein  Kaun Kitney Paani Mein
      Kaun Kitney Paani Mein  Kaun Kitney Paani Mein
    • Kaun Kitney Paani Mein  Kaun Kitney Paani Mein
      Kaun Kitney Paani Mein  Kaun Kitney Paani Mein
    •   I Am Kalam
        I Am Kalam
    •   I Am Kalam
        I Am Kalam
    •   I Am Kalam
        I Am Kalam
    •   Jalpari
        Jalpari
    •   Jalpari
        Jalpari