History of Odia Cinema

Nila Madhab Panda’s Jalpari – The Desert Mermaid goes to The Oscar


Director Mr.Nila Madhab Panda’s Jalpari is going places.Mr.Nila Madhab Panda is a filmmaker and director hailing from Subarnapur district of Odisha. Nila Madhab Panda’s I Am Kalam has won many national and international awards. The film has been submitted as a direct entry to the OSCARS after winning ” MIP Junior Kids Jury Award” at Cannes and  “Audience Choice Award” at Minsk International Film Festival in Belarus. About 17 Indian films are competing for India’s official entry in the foreign film category.

“The story of ‘Jalpari’ is largely based on the issue of female foeticide, but it has been treated as an adventure thriller and journey film.”

Ten million female fetuses are estimated to have been aborted over the past two decades in India according to ActionAid. 35 million females are also ‘missing’ according to the 2001 National Indian Census. Female feticide is an urgent and prevalent issue, and this horror does not only apply to India. Oxford University research based on birth statistics revealed that 1500 females from England and Wales have gone ‘missing’ since 1990. Sons being valued higher than daughters seem to have become ‘the norm’ in Indian Society. Whilst some parents feel their daughters to be the ‘Laxmi’ (Goddess) of the house, others are repulsed by them. The expense of paying a dowry, the responsibility of family honor resting upon a daughter, as well as the daughters being viewed as ‘parahi’ (belonging to her husband’s family) are some factors that encourage the murdering of an unborn female child. This shocking issue of female feticide is addressed by Nila Madhab Panda in his film Jal Pari: The Desert Mermaid.


The film features child actors Lehar Khan and Krishang Trivedi as protagonists along with ‘I Am Kalam’ child star Harsh Mayar.

It also features Parvin Dabas, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Rahul Singh, Suhasini Mulay and V.M. Badola.

Movie: Jalpari – The Desert Mermaid
Cast: Harsh Mayar, Krishang Trivedi, Parvin Dabas, Rahul Singh, Rajesh Lehar, Suhasini Mulay, Tannishtha Chatterjee, V. M. Badola
Director: Nila Madhab Panda

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