At the age of seven, Saima Panda is ruling the roost in the Odia album industry. She has appeared in more than 10 bhajan albums. Now, she is all set to make her debut in television soaps.
Born to director and choreographer Raj Narayan and art teacher Rashmi Panda, Saima has been passionate about dancing from early childhood. Her father says, “When she was barely two, I used to take her to shooting sets where she closely observed the dance steps of artistes. On returning home, she would try to imitate the dancers. Sometimes, she would ask me to teach the difficult steps I had taught the artistes. Seeing her growing interest in modern dance, we made up our mind to provide her tuitions. She has been learning modern dance under the tutelage of Uday Kumar Swain for the last two years.”
Saima was five when she made her debut in the album industry. Raj Narayan says, “Producer Ashok Harichandan wanted to cast her in his bhajan album ‘Arpan’ after seeing her performance at a stage programme. He was captivated by her dance moves and expressions. He contacted me and,without giving a second thought, I said yes to his offer to cast her. She became a household name after the album was released. She subsequently appeared in an album produced by Himanshu Rout and that toobecame a hit. In most of the album videos, she has portrayed Krishna. So far, it has been a smooth journey. Apart from album videos, she has at least ten stage shows to her credit.”
A student of Venkateswara English Medium School, Saima has worked with known artistes of the television industry like Madhumita Mohanty, Twinkle Mishra,Prativa Panda, Sarthak Pradhan and Ashrumochan Mohanty.
Her mother Rashmi adds, “Saima is a natural actor. Once we reached late for shooting. Saima was portraying the character of Madhumita’s daughter and the director just told her that she would have to cry for the scene. This was the scene: Sangram, who was portraying Saima’s father character, would assault Madhumita and asked her to leave home along with Saima. Going by the script, when Sangram started assaulting Madhumita, Saima started crying inconsolably. Before the director could say anything, she went straight to Madhumita and hugged her tight. Though the director had only told herto cry, she rushed to Madhumita on her own and consoled her before they were thrown out from their house. Everyone present at the shooting appreciated her performance without understanding that she was truly in tears without the help of glycerin.”
Recalling another anecdote, she says, “During the shooting of album ‘Mo Kandhei Pherie De’, she beautifully enacted the role of a sister. After the scene was done, her co-artistes hugged her, blessed her and wished her a bright career in the television industry.”
Little Saima is clear about her aim: “I want to be an actress and make my parents proud.”
RASHMI REKHA DAS,OP