SWA announces nominees for best gender sensitive script for SWA Awards 2020

Five feature films have been selected from 167 feature film submissions

MUMBAI: Screenwriters Association (SWA), the Indian guild of screenwriters and lyricists, announced today the five nominees for the best gender sensitive script category of SWA Awards 2020. The nominees were selected by an eminent jury comprising of screenwriters and filmmakers Apurva Asrani, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari and Leena Yadav.

Nominees for Best Gender Sensitive Script are:

1.  Saagar Gupta and Sridhar Rangayan for Evening Shadows

2.  QasimKhallow for Gone Kesh

3.  Ivan Ayr and Kislay for Soni

4. Faizal Akhtar, Sameer Siddiqi and ShrabaniDeodhar for TheSholay Girl

5. FarukKabir, Kushan Mustafa and Siddharth Mishra for 377 Ab Normal

SWA general secretary Sunil Salgia said, “Stories have played an important role in building society, in bringing change in its thinking.  Stories told with visuals have lasting impact. We, the screenwriters, can shape the popular discourse for better or worse. The best gender sensitive script award is SWA’s way of encouraging writers to tell insightful stories that nudge the world towards becoming a little more sensitive, a little more inclusive, and a lot more beautiful.”

The five nominees were selected from 167 Hindi language feature films released in 2019 that were submitted to the awards committee. A pre-jury assessed all entries and shortlisted nine films. The final jury then evaluated these films and selected five nominees that challenge social and cultural stereotypes by exploring the identities of and relationships between men, women and other gender identities. The final winner will be announced in an online awards ceremony on 27 September 2020.

SWA Best Gender Sensitive Script Award screenwriter and spokesperson Ketki Pandit said, “The Best Gender Sensitive Script Award is for the writer who does not shy away from telling stories that are truly ‘hatke’ from the mush of same old clichés. Diving deep, who unveils layer after layer of complex characters, until all notions of ‘us and them’ vanish; and we see, beyond the gender binaries, the spectacular drama of human vulnerability.”

SWA is holding the first ever SWA Awards on the occasion of its diamond jubilee year in 2020. Since they are judged by knowledgeable screenwriters and lyricists, these awards promise to become the most coveted validation for writers in India, much like the awards of other prestigious international writers’ guilds and literary organisations.

The nominees spoke to SWA, reacting to the announcement:

Saagar Gupta: Thank you SWA for nominating our film Evening Shadows under this category. We are truly humbled to be nominated from the list of 167 films. Winning the award will surely be a boost, but our work being acknowledged by such a prestigious body of writers is itself a great honour and a matter of pride for us, as for the writers and creators of Evening Shadows.

Sridhar Rangayan: The very fact that SWA recognises the need for instituting a category like Best Gender Sensitive Script to give leverage to marginalised stories about women and LGBTQ characters within the mainstream space means a lot to us writers and filmmakers working on these themes. And the fact that our film Evening Shadows made the cut is a huge honour. We hope to keep the rainbow flag flying high!

Qasim Khallow: Many congratulations to SWA for their first ever awards and thank you for nominating Gone Kesh. It’s a great honour for me to be nominated as I have always looked up to SWA. This SWA Awards will motivate budding writers and also give recognition to already existing writers. I am so glad and happy that finally we have an award show especially dedicated to writers.

Ivan Ayr: I am very grateful to SWA and the awards committee for this nomination. There's no greater honour than to be recognised by your peers and contemporaries, so this is very special.

Kislay: I initially joined SWA thinking that it is only an association. Later when I received regular updates about its activities, I realised it does much more. It’s an honour to be chosen by your esteemed fellow writers as one of the contenders for the SWA Awards. In academics, the uniqueness and inventiveness of academic work is recognised in its peer reviews. SWA Awards is equivalent to that for me in films.

Faizal Akhtar:Shukriya SWA for nominating me for The Sholay Girl, a movie so dear to my heart. Especially because it is a biopic of a completely unknown woman. Doing contemporary research is kind of difficult. But the team pulled it off. So it feels ebullient to be nominated by SWA, by your own people. This award is important for the appreciation of the art and craft of a medium that is called the ‘writer's medium’. SWA nominating me feels like being nominated by the Academy for Oscars, and because it is an award by SWA, I know this will be a true lens for writers to judge their work.

Sameer Siddqui: An artist can understand and appreciate the work of a fellow artist better. I’m grateful that my humble effort is nominated for the first ever SWA Awards. I’m sure that SWA Awards are going to be the most respected recognition of creative talents. I wish all the success to this great venture of our association.

ShrabaniDeodhar: I feel very honoured to be nominated for my film The Sholay Girl in the Best Gender Sensitive Script category. This nomination is very special as this is the first year for this category and more so because this award is given by screenwriters to screenwriters. I want to thank SWA and the eminent jury members for encouraging and acknowledging us.

FarukKabir: I am very happy to learn of the first ever SWA Awards. It’s a welcome step in recognising one of the most important pillars of cinema, the writer. I am delighted and honoured to be nominated by SWA and peers in this very prestigious first for 377 Ab Normal. SWA by far is going to be one of the most revered awards for any content creator and writer to receive.

Kashan Mustafa: The importance of the film, 377 Ab Normal, overshadows any and all creative achievements that it brings. Written and made with true heart and spirit, this film is a milestone in putting the historic judgement and the people who played the key roles towards achieving it in moving images, thus giving them posterity. FarukKabir and Siddharth Mishra were instrumental in getting this film made. And so was Zee5 without whom this would not exist and would not be viewed by so many across boundaries of nations, ideologies and gender.

Siddharth Mishra: I'm really very happy and excited as our film, 377 Ab Normal, has been nominated under the Best Gender Sensitive Script category of SWA Awards. It's an important film for these times as though the court has done its job by decriminalising Article 377, the message should reach out to the larger part of the population in a way which is understandable and which can sensitise them. Film, as a medium, becomes a very effective tool in doing this. And we, as a team, tried to convey this message in an empathetic manner through this film.

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