The Screenwriters Association announces it’s first ever Award and the nominees are…

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The Screenwriters Association (formerly Film Writers’ Association) is a trade union of screenwriters and lyricists who write Films, TV and Digital Media in India with a membership of over 25,000 writers. Recently, the Screenwriters Association (SWA), the Indian guild of screenwriters and lyricists, announced the first ever SWA Awards. SWA is holding the first ever SWA Awards on the occasion of its Diamond Jubilee year in 2020. The final winners will be announced in an online awards ceremony on September 27, 2020.

A jury comprising of eminent screenwriters selected five feature films under each of the sub-categories: Best Story, Best Screenplay, Best Dialogue and Best Debut Writer. Together, the nominations are divided among 10 Hindi language feature films released in 2019. For the purpose of selection of nominees, the SWA Awards Committee accessed 167 of 223 Hindi language feature films released in theatres and on OTT platforms in 2019. A jury comprising of screenwriters such as Ashok Mishra, Atul Tiwari, Juhi Chaturvedi, Saket Chaudhary, Urmi Juvekar, Vijay Krishna Acharya and Vinay Shukla watched films shortlisted by SWA’s Film Selection Committee and selected the nominees under each sub-category.
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.

And the nominees are…

Best Story
1.​Anubhav Sinha and Gaurav Solanki for Article 15
2.​Devanshu Singh and Satyanshu Singh for Chintu Ka Birthday
3.​Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar for Gully Boy
4.​Abhishek Chaubey and Sudip Sharma for Sonchiriya
5.​Ivan Ayr for Soni

Best Screenplay
1.​Anubhav Sinha and Gaurav Solanki for Article 15
2.​Niren Bhatt for Bala
3.​Devanshu Singh and Satyanshu Singh for Chintu Ka Birthday
4.​Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar for Gully Boy
5.​Vasan Bala for Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota

Best Dialogue
1.​Anubhav Sinha and Gaurav Solanki for Article 15
2.​Niren Bhatt for Bala
3.​Vijay Maurya for Gully Boy
4.​Ravinder Randhawa and Sumit Saxena for Hamid
5.​Sudip Sharma for Sonchiriya

Best Debut Writer
1.​Devanshu Singh and Satyanshu Singh for Chintu Ka Birthday
2.​Sandeep Pandey for Chousar Firangi
3.​Ravinder Randhawa for Hamid
4.​Aadish Keluskar for Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil
5.​Ivan Ayr and Kislay for Soni

Congratulating the nominees, Sunil Salgia, General Secretary, SWA, said, “Filmmakers always say, ‘Without script there is no film’ or ‘the Script is King’. They are right. It is time to recognise the persons who lay the foundations of these kingdoms. Let them be centre-stage. They will cherish this award more than anything as it comes from their colleagues, their competitors, their critics and those who envy them yet love them. Writing a movie’s script is the most challenging craft, and the best deserves honours, irrespective of its commercial outcome.”

Anjum Rajabali, senior screenwriter, teacher and Spokesperson, SWA Film Awards, said, “Victor Hugo’s oft-quoted line says it perfectly: ‘There’s nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come.’ The time to celebrate the primacy of the script has arrived. The time to honour the writer is here. And what better way than for a writers’ association to do it. There’s no greater pride for a writer than to have her work endorsed by peers who understand writing. SWA is fulfilling its aim to bring the writer centre-stage. Kudos to the SWA Awards Committee led by Sridhar Rangayan, Richa Singh Gautam, Jagriti Thakur and their team for the impeccable transparency of the judging process. Way to go, SWA!”

Reacting to the announcement the nominees said to SWA:

Anubhav Sinha: “I am so happy to be nominated by the Screenwriters Association for Article 15 for writing awards, and it is so wonderful that your peers, your seniors think what you wrote was worthy of such a distinction. Thank you so much, jury. Thank you so much, Screenwriters Association.”

Gaurav Solanki: “This is a very special nomination. Awards for writers, by writers! I hope through this we keep encouraging each other, educating each other of our shortcomings and pat each other’s back when the work is good. We keep working, writing new stories and screenplays and walk on new paths. This is a celebration for that only!”

Devanshu Singh: “It’s a matter of great joy and pride for us both, that our first script has been nominated in three categories at the first ever edition of the SWA awards. We wrote this script in 2007 without any formal training in screenwriting. For the past 10 years, we kept polishing it as we learnt the craft. Writing is a game of immense patience and hard work and being rewarded for it, means a lot. Thank you, jury, for considering us worthy of the nomination among such brilliant writers. Special thanks to SWA for starting this award. This will definitely encourage budding writers like us.”

Satyanshu Singh: “Over the last couple of decades, Screenwriters Association has been the much needed support system we need as writers. It is only just that the SWA has its own awards to honour the work of screenwriters and lyricists. Over the following years, this award will only grow in its stature and legacy. I will always feel honoured and proud to be nominated in the SWA Awards in the very first year. Thank you, SWA, from the bottom of my heart, for this nomination, and every other nomination and award an upcoming writer will receive from you.”

Abhishek Chaubey: “It comes as a rare piece of good news in these bleak times that SWA has inaugurated its first ever awards to honour the best writing of the year. That we have been nominated in the Best Story category for Sonchiriya is an icing on the cake. It’s an absolute privilege to be nominated for the first ever edition and I wish this initiative is a huge success. Recent years have seen the standing of film writers in our industry improve remarkably and SWA has a major role in this development. I hope this happy story continues into its new act.”

Sudip Sharma: “It’s lovely to hear that SWA is honouring the best works of the year 2019 with SWA Awards for writing. I am even more thrilled that my writing on Sonchiriya has been thought worthy of nomination by a jury of eminent writers. It is always a lovely feeling to be reviewed well by your peers and I thank them for considering my work worthwhile of that privilege.”

Ivan Ayr: “I am very grateful to the Screenwriters Association and the 2020 awards committee for this nomination. There is no greater honour than to be recognised by your peers and contemporaries, so this is very special.”

Niren Bhatt: “The fact that nominations for this award have been selected by fellow writers makes it super special for me. I am humbled and elated by the nomination. Hope SWA Awards grow bigger every year and it manages to give much required unbiased recognition to writers in the Indian film industry. SWA Awards is certainly a step in the right direction.”

Vijay Maurya: “When master screenwriters appreciate your screenwriting, no reward is bigger than that for you. I am very fortunate that my name is nominated in our SWA family’s first ever award ceremony 2020 for the film Gully Boy. It is a matter of luck for me and if I get this award then its a challenge also, because then I have to hard work for getting nominated again in SWA Awards 2021. My best wishes to SWA and other nominee brothers and sisters, and fingers crossed.”

Vasan Bala: “Extremely thrilled to be acknowledged with this nomination for the first ever SWA Awards. Thank you and hope the awards keep growing in strength in the years to come.”

Ravinder Randhawa: “Nothing could be more significant and heart-warming than being recognised and celebrated by one’s fraternity. Therefore, I am extremely happy to be nominated for the first ever SWA Awards. The best part is that the only consideration for these awards seems to be the quality of the script and not the total business of the film. I sincerely hope that these awards will instil faith in good writing and inspire writers to strive for the best.”

Sumit Saxena: “Thanks to Gaurav Sharma, Sidharth, Shoaib and the entire team from SaReGama for this nomination. This one is special! I am not very sure where my SWA Membership card is. I very rarely ever register my scripts and ideas but, I completely understand the importance of this institution. This is the first year of this award ceremony, so it will be special. And I am hoping for more of these glorious ceremonies in times to come.”

Sandeep Pandey: “If we look at all the elements of a film, writing, without doubt, is one of the most important components. The Screenwriters Association provides a platform that encourages and safeguards the rights of the upcoming and professional writers. It is a matter of privilege for me that the SWA and the jury nominated “Chousar Firangi” written and directed by me in the best debut writer category. I am very thankful to them. And I also hope that SWA continues to encourage us writers.”

Adish Keluskar: “Writing is art and art is subjective. Awards in an artistic field, for ‘Best’ this or that, do not reflect the true nature of art unlike sports or other clearly defined fields. However, awards in an artistic field are important because they serve a necessary function – clear recognition. In today’s muddled times of information overload, clear identification, and recognition of an artistic field from other artistic fields is the vision we need. SWA has that vision and SWA Awards for writing is a concrete reflection of that. I thank you for the nomination and wish SWA the best to continue this vision.”

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 the academic works is recognised in its peer reviews. SWA Awards is equivalent to that for me in films. I am glad that our peers have seen something of value in what we tried to do in our first film.”

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