Sunday, January 9, 2011

The TOTO Awards, 2011

Toto Funds the Arts (TFA) announced its seventh annual awards for young writers, photographers and musicians at a function held at Alliance Francaise, Bangalore, on Saturday, 8 January 2011. Shri UR Ananthamurthy, one of India’s foremost writers, was the Chief Guest.

MUSIC (one award, Rs 50,000) (no. of applications: 136)

The three jurors were founder and owner of Rock Street Journal (India’s only rock and metal music magazine in existence since 1993) Amit Saigal, the head of events and promotions at Rock Street Journal Siddhartha Menon, and Amyt Datta, the virtuoso guitar player who has lent his unique style and technique to bands like Skinney Alley and Pink Noise. All applicants were on the long list.


Four applicants were shortlisted:
  1. Ankur Pandey (New Delhi)
  2. Five 8 (New Delhi)
  3. Lucid Recess (Guwahati)
  4. Adam and the Fisheyed Poets (Chennai)

The award went to Lucid Recess from Guwahati.


CREATIVE WRITING IN KANNADA (one award, Rs 25,000) (no. of applications: 126)

The three jurors were: short fiction writer, poet and film lyricist Jayant Kaikini, fiction writer and editor of the web magazine Kendasampige Abdul Rasheed, and fiction writer and editor of the quarterly journal Deshakaala Vivek Shanbag.

There was no long list.


There were three applicants on the shortlist:
  1. Shreedevi Kalasad (Bangalore)
  2. Mounesh L. Badiger (Bangalore)
  3. Sushrutha Dodderi (Bangalore)

The award went to Mounesh L. Badiger for his short fiction.

Jurors general remarks:

“The entries for this year have a lot of variety and enthusiasm. If this enthusiasm is coupled with reflection and forbearance, it is not far-fetched to anticipate significant works from these writers in the coming years. The entries have flown in from all parts of Karnataka, rich in thematic diversity. Beginning from the turbulences offset by globalization, to exploring an individual’s relevance in contemporary society, equality, the bewilderment of city experience, and the passionate love relationships of youth — there is an entire range of themes. This is a welcome situation.

“However, when one evaluates them in terms of craft of writing, there is scope for enormous improvement. The works do not bear testimony to a writer’s struggle to arrive at the right expression, language, form and structure. Most entries seemed to be content with what came to them effortlessly. When the writer is deeply engaged with language, the writing gets laced with a rare kind of dynamism. It’s important for these young writers to recognize their innate, organic rhythm. Many writers — the ones who were part of the long and short list — have a talent for this. The panelists have no grouse as far as talent is concerned; it is however imperative that these writers master their craft as well. These skills can be sharpened only with contemplation and wide reading.”


CREATIVE WRITING IN ENGLISH (two awards, Rs 25,000 each) (no. of applications: 140)

Supported by Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions’ Art Grant

The three jurors were: poet, novelist and translator Sampurna Chattarji, Ramu Ramanathan, playwright-director and editor of the monthly theatre magazine PT News, and poet, editor, critic and cultural curator Arundhathi Subramaniam.

There were 31 applicants on the long list. They were: Varsha Seshan, Devika Rege, Amritha Dinesh, Aditi Rao, Meera Suryanarayanan, Sneha Khale, Madhura Chakravarty, Sharanya Manivannan, Himali Singh Soin, Gagan Narula, Samhita Arni, Danish Sheikh, Ipsita Chakravarty, Swetanshu Bora, Deepika Arwind, Rahul Nadkarni, Joshua Muyiwa, Shreya Yadav, Aastha Atray Banan, Krishna Kumar Sankaran, Ishita Basu Mallik, Aruni Kashyap, Ashwati Parameshwar, Kaushik Barua, Bedarth Goswami, Sriya Narayanan, Amita Basu, Vaishali Dinakaran, Diya Kohli, Sunil Rajagopal, Ajay Krishnan.


Four applicants made it to the shortlist. They were:
  1. Sharanya Manivannan (Chennai)
  2. Deepika Arwind (Bangalore)
  3. Amritha Dinesh (Chennai)
  4. Ishita Basu Mallik (Kolkata)

The awards went to Deepika Arwind and Ishita Basu Mallik.
Both received the awards for their poetry.

Jurors general remarks:

"As judges, we were unanimously impressed by the high standard of the writing. Our initial choices were varied but there were points of intersection (with the poetry and drama in particular). On further discussion, we found that our choices were determined by a similar set of concerns: a preference for writing that revealed sensitivity to form but remained alert to the dangers of a mannered or soulless craft; writing that indicated a strong sense of individual voice (even if sometimes jagged and inchoate), rather than easy verbal fluency; writing that probed, pushed limits and took unusual perspectives without being tokenistic or self-consciously experimental; writing that seemed to prioritise genuine creative imperatives over political/artistic correctness. It was hard work and each of us felt more than a momentary twinge on behalf of some very fine applications that we personally wanted on that shortlist. But the entire process was also considerably more enjoyable than we thought it would be!”


PHOTOGRAPHY (two awards of Rs 25,000 each) (no. of applications: 89)
in association with TASVEER

The three jurors were the well-known photographers Prashant Panjiar and Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, as well as Abhishek Poddar, who leads TASVEER.

There were 19 applicants on the long list. They were: Neha Malhotra, Imran Ahmed, Chetana B M, Ayan Ghosh, Jaimin Bhavsar, Chandra Sahu, Chandan Ahuja, Vidisha Saini, Nishant Ratnakar, Maniyarasan R, Sankar Sarrkar, Shine Bhola, Suruchi Dumpawar, Nikita Dutt, Chinky Shukla, Rajesh Kumar Singh, Haris Pathirikodan, Mridul Batra, and Abhishek Dasgupta.


Four applicants made it to the shortlist. They were:
  1. Suruchi Dumpawar (New Delhi)
  2. Haris Pathirikodan (Kondotty, Kerala)
  3. Vidisha Saini (New Delhi)
  4. Chetana BM (Bangalore)

The awards were won by Vidisha Saini and Haris Pathirikodan.

Jurors general remarks:

“We received a fantastic range of submissions for this year’s TFA awards from applicants representing many of the exciting new trajectories of contemporary photography today, as well as from those working more in the traditional photographic cannon. It was harder than ever to reach our conclusions and we spent a lot of time debating the various merits of our favourite bodies of work - a process that demanded the careful consideration of each entry to ensure that TFA maintains its commitment to rewarding the very best in up-and-coming photography. The photographs that struck us the most were those which managed to tackle some of the issues facing India today whilst also demonstrating a strong aesthetic sensibility - resulting in some very mature bodies of work which each communicate their given concepts in compelling and thought-provoking ways.”

TFA will invite applications for the 2011 awards in July-August 2011.

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