The TFA awards for talented young musicians, writers and photographers spoke of great promise

Toto Funds the Arts has for the past seven years successfully made people who say that passion for the arts equals not having a future, eat their words.

The organisation has just announced the winners of their seventh annual awards and if the quality of work displayed there does not prompt one to believe otherwise, then nothing can. Held this year at the Alliance Francaise, the awards were instituted in memory of Angirus Toto Vellani to recognise potential in the arts and encourage young people to pursue their talent. The awards were handed out by the chief guest for the evening, writer U.R. Ananthamurthy.

The TFA gave awards in five categories including one for music, two for creative writing in English, two for photography, and their newly introduced award for creative writing in Kannada. Of the 134 entries that came in under the music category, the jury chose Guwahati-based band “Lucid Recess”. The jury which comprised of Amit Sehgal, founder of Rock Street Journal, Siddhartha Menon, head of events and promotions at Rock Street Journal and guitarist Amyt Datta said, “This is a progressive alternative band that achieves an unfailingly high professional standard. Full marks for the passion that comes through in their music.”

The award for photography went to Haris Pathirikodan from Kerala and Vidisha Saini from Jaipur. While Vidisha received the award for her series of images titled “Unvoiced” which tackled the issue of sexuality, Haris won the award for “Siblings” a series of images that portrayed the relationships single children share with inanimate objects. Bangalore-based writer-journalist Deepika Arwind who submitted entries in both poetry and short-fiction, was shortlisted for both her entries, and won the award for her poetry. The jury said Arwind has a fine-tuned poetic sensibility which was remarkably mature in its handling of poetic form and tone. The second winner in the same category was Ishita Basu Mallik, who is based in Kolkata.

The jurors for this award were poet, novelist and translator Sampurna Chatterjee, playwright and editor of PT News, a monthly theatre magazine, Ramu Ramanathan, and poet and cultural curator, Arundhathi Subramaniam.

The Toto award for the newly introduced category of creative writing in Kannada went to Mounesh L. Badiger for his short stories. The jurors said , “Badiger's work displays a certain curiosity to explore the unsaid and look beyond the stereotypes.” The jury for this award comprised of poet and film lyricist Jayant Kaikini, editor of the web magazine Kendasampige, Abdul Rasheed, and editor of the Kannada quarterly journal Deshakaala, Vivek Shanbhag.

“All great writers are bi-lingual, for example R.K Narayan and Arundhati Roy; we need to regionalise English,” said Ananthamurthy before commending the TFA's move of incorporating an award for writing in Kannada. “India is very competitive, and parents want their children to join the IT industry. It is awards like these and organisations like the TFA that will help parents see otherwise,” he concluded.

Keywords: Toto Funds