After his award-winning directorial debut, I Am Kalam, last year, Nila Madhab Panda’s second film, Jalpari too has won rave reviews at the just-concluded Cannes Film Festival.
Now, while he is still scripting his next, rumours of Hollywood star Richard Gere starring in the film are growing strong. Harrison Ford’s name has been brought up too.
“We’re talking to a lot of people. Nothing is confirmed yet, but this film will be much bigger (compared to his past films),” says Panda cautiously, when asked to comment on the untitled film based on the issue of world food security, which also stars I Am Kalam child actor Harsh Mayar.
He adds, “Sometimes, a few things come out in the media that send a completely different signal to the actors. So I shouldn’t talk much about it. As for Mr Gere, we are still having general communication with him. It’s not like we’ve signed the contract, but we’re in touch with his team members.”
If the deal comes through, Gere will play the sutradhar
in the film — a foreigner who comes to India and gets involved with the socio-political setup of a village.
Currently, Nila is excited about Jalpari. “It’s more than just a children’s film. It falls in the family adventure space. Making a successful film for kids is kind of an impossible journey in India. Look at Chillar Party (2011). I loved it and felt it should have been a bigger hit,” he says.
Unlike I Am Kalam, Jalpari is going to be released in a big way on July 28. “Once your first film has done well, people wait for the next one. Funding also becomes easier. Jalpari is entertaining, spicy and has nice music,” smiles Panda.