The Hindu MetroPlus Playwright Award 2012 has been awarded to Prashanth Kumar Nair for his entry Romeo and Juliet – No Strings Attached.

Instituted by The Hindu in 2008, the annual award carries a prize of Rs. 1 lakh for the best unpublished and unperformed playscript in English.

Romeo and Juliet – No Strings Attached was selected from over 40 entries received from all over the country.

Bangalore-based advertising professional and theatre enthusiast, Prashanth Kumar Nair, 30, has a passion for creating stories that are classical in essence but replete with references to politics, pop culture, cartoons and urban legends. His first set of 10-minute scripts was performed by Tahatoo, a Bangalore-based theatre group, as a play called Full Meals in 2010 and 2011. This is his first entry for The Hindu MetroPlus Playwright Award.

Earlier, a panel of three distinguished judges had longlisted seven plays, of which three were shortlisted. The other two shortlisted entries were Baby by Nandini Krishnan and The Last Journey by Satish Pendharkar.

The three judges for this year's award were Arshia Sattar, independent scholar, translator and co-founder and director of the Sangam House international writers' residency programme; Keval Arora, who teaches literature and drama at Kirori Mal College, Delhi University, and well-known theatre critic; and Ramu Ramanathan, the Mumbai-based playwright.

Play about another play

In a citation, the judges described Romeo and Juliet – No Strings Attached as “the kind of script that you cannot wait to see on stage. With an irreverent contemporary voice, it has an exuberance and energy that simply leaps off the page and demands to be embodied by actors. As the title suggests, this is a play about another play, but it is also a play about performance, its exhilaration and its anxieties. The play has a strong performance signature but the playwright's skilled control of the material keeps it open enough for directors and actors to step in and take ownership of its many magical parts. Romeo and Juliet – No Strings Attached was a pleasure to read and we have no doubt that it will also be a pleasure to direct and perform.”

The MetroPlus Playwright Award 2012 is the fifth since it was launched in 2008.

Last year's award was won by Aditya Sudarshan for The Green Room. Earlier winners were Abhishek Majumdar for Harlesden High Street (2008), Prashant Prakash and Kalki Koechlin for Skeleton Woman (2009), and Neel Chaudhuri for Taramandal (2010).

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