Sunday, January 12, 2014

Winners of the Toto Awards 2014 and Jury Comments

The winners of the Toto Awards 2014 were announced at the Toto Awards function in Bangalore yesterday. They are:


The Monkey in Me, Kolkata.

Jury comment: "This group opens doors to an intimate dreamscape of mystery and sweet nostalgia. Nischay Parekh’s songwriting is mature, his musicianship tight yet fluid, and lyrics filled with childlike humour and curiosity. This young artist's work, already marked with finesse and confidence, has raised the standards for music-making in this country. We're excited about following his journey, discovering the authenticity of his voice and that of other new voices—the monkey within us all. Thank you, The Monkey In Me!"

Creative Writing in English

1. Rohan Chhetri, Gurgaon.

Jury comment: "This entry stands out on account of its precision and tonal assurance. The eight poems traverse, to use the poet’s own phrase, 'the necessary grammar of estrangement' that marks the personal and the public in identifiable ways. The poems explore the restitutions that a carefully-won personal idiom and scrupulousness with memory might make possible, while being resolutely skeptical about the scale and the effect of these restitutions."

2. Mihir Vatsa, Delhi.

Jury comment: "His poems have an unusual 'sound'. This was perhaps our immediate response to the writer’s experiments with mixing registers. These poems invite the reader to wander between the orneriness of everyday speech and the recognizably poetic; we are regularly called to attention by the possibilities the writer finds in each dialect. The title of one of the poems—An Unreliable Poem on Something Uncomfortable—is perhaps the most compact way of referring to the negotiations with experience that underlie this shifting of registers. Each of the poems captures a specific way in which the reassuring straight lines of language fail to hold the complications of intimacy, or indeed any other private experience."

Creative Writing in Kannada

Padmanabh Bhat, Hubli.

Jury comment: "These stories interrogate human relationships and emotions. They have succeeded in using language that the situation demands. Being able to stretch language to two ends of the spectrum is the skill of this writer. The stories are uncommon in the way they unravel the inner life of human beings. The writer does not adopt a ubiquitous position, but one of na├»ve wonderment, which allows the stories to unfold layer by layer. The author displays a good grasp of a character’s many facets and dimensions."


1. Amirtharaj Stephen, Tirunelveli.

Jury comment: "The images demonstrate an advanced understanding of the black and white medium, of composition and of the decisive moment in creating a cohesive visual narrative. Above and beyond the proficiency of the image, however, is the photographer’s evident commitment to the subject. These photographs are clearly not the product of an outsider’s lens, but rather the result of someone with a clear belief in the need to give voice to struggling communities and garner compassion and understanding in the viewer through the medium of photography."

2. Pooja Jain, Mumbai.

Jury comment: "This project suggests a desire by the photographer to explore and understand renunciation and the ascetic life of nuns in the Jain community. This is a very complex and private world, and one in which its very portrayal and representation could be contentious. Rather than passing judgement, sentimentalizing or being voyeuristic, however, we are encouraged to share in the photographer’s dignified curiosity. The project is particularly well edited, showing a combination of straightforward documents of life in the monastery alongside more ambiguous, subjective and creative images. These images point towards the mysterious world inhabited by the nuns and elevate the project above the mere descriptive, revealing the photographer's own voice."

1. Kislay, Allahabad

Jury comment: "The film Hamare Ghar uses disarming economy to make an indictment of the familiar middle class world we all inhabit. With depth and empathy, the filmmaker develops a script that comes alive with remarkable actors and a shot design that has been thought through carefully. Without using sentimentality or dramatic excess the film allows the audience to get emotionally invested in the protagonist's story. One juror remarked, 'I sent up a silent cheer as the dignity of the individual in an unforgiving world, was reinstated.’ This film needs to be applauded for its confident and unapologetic scrutiny of our society."

2. Priyanka Chhabra, New Delhi.
Jury comment: "A Summer Flu is a remarkable attempt to explore the simplicity and beauty of poetry on film. Without falling back on familiar tropes, the filmmaker tentatively opens windows to a unique way of looking and listening. Refreshing moments in style and form coupled with a detailed sound design makes this film special. It is always yryenriching to see the work of a young filmmaker who is free of the baggage of established codes of filmmaking." 


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