Toto Funds the Arts (TFA) announced its fifth annual awards for young photographers, writers and musicians at a function held at the Alliance Francaise, Bangalore, on 12 January 2009. Mr T S Satyan, the renowned photojournalist, was the Chief Guest.
The purpose of the Toto Awards is to recognize potential in the arts and encourage young people to pursue their talent. The awards were instituted in memory of Angirus Toto Vellani who was passionate about the arts.
The two creative writing awards went to Aditi Machado from Bangalore and Neel Chaudhuri from New Delhi, who received Rs 25,000 each. The jurors for this award were writer, translator and critic Shanta Gokhale, novelist and columnist CK Meena, and professor of English and quiz master Arul Mani.
Aditi Machado, an undergraduate at Mount Carmel College, entered nearly 50 short poems for the award. The jury commented that she “has a talent for sparseness. This is an extraordinarily luminous poetry-sequence.” Neel Chaudhuri, who has been involved with theatre for the past ten years, submitted a play ‘Godspeed’. The jury said that the play “is remarkably well-structured, revealing an imagination that is finely attuned to the stringent requirements of performance”.
The music award was won by Another Vertigo Rush, a Delhi-based rock band. The jurors, Radhakrishnan Nair, editor and publisher of Rolling Stone magazine, and Uday Benegal, writer, filmmaker and one-time frontman of the well-known band Indus Creed, praised the band for their “very, very punchy songs, great sound, great ideas”. The band will be awarded a record deal with Counter Culture Record to bring out their first CD, and also receive an equipment voucher worth Rs 15,000.
Sohrab Hura from Gurgaon and Amit Madheshiya from Mumbai received a cash prize of Rs 25,000 each for winning the two awards for photography. The jurors for this award – well-known photographers Navroze Contractor and Ryan Lobo, and Abhishek Poddar, the inspiration behind Tasveer – remarked that Amit’s “images of children in an often harsh urban landscape have a strong narrative, telling an immensely poignant story truthfully”. Sohrab’s photography was commended for being “personal, honest and powerful. His endeavour is suffused with suffering, loneliness and love”.
Ten short-listed applicants received special jury commendations. Among these, Allegro Fudge (music), Umeed Mistry (photography) and Deepika Arwind, Ram Ganesh Kamatham and Swar Thounaojam (creative writing) were present to receive their certificates from the Chief Guest.
The winners of the writing awards read from their work, while the photography awardees showed and discussed their images.
TFA will invite applications for the 2010 awards in August 2009.