National Award-winning director of Kadvi Hawa and I am Kalam, Nila Madhab Panda’s next Halkaa, which had its world premiere at the prestigious 21st Festival International du Film Pour Enfants de Montréal Film festival (FIFEM) won the top award ‘Grand Prix de Montreal’.
Halkaa (Relief) was selected among seven international children’s films from different countries in the official competition of the festival held from March 8-11.
It is a unique take on a slum child’s heroism, aspirations and dreams. The child protagonist, Pichku fights for the basic problem that he faces every day; defecating in the open amongst others. It is his dream to make a toilet of his own where he can enjoy his privacy and do the deed in peace.
The light-hearted and feel-good film stars child actor Tathastu (Pichku), Ranvir Shorey and Paoli Dam.
Festival director Jo-Anne Blouin presented the award and said, “The jury was unanimously touched and enchanted with Halkaa and gave the top award to the film ‘for the audacity of its subject matter, the opportunity for children to discover the daily lives of children in such a different society and for the “joie de vivre” that overcomes adversity no matter what’.”
Nila is overjoyed after winning the award and says, “It’s a great honour that Halkaa won the top award at its world premiere screening. The film has already been invited to six international film festivals. India is one of the largest youth populated countries, but we hardly produce children’s cinema which is an irony.”
The director added that Halkaa can be called a sequel to his much-acclaimed kid’s film, I am Kalam and is based on a kid’s journey to becoming a hero. “I am sure the audience will love this one as well. This is a family entertainer with amazing music from Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.”