The Hindu Playwright Award 2018 went to Annie Zaidi for her play Untitled-1. The ₹2 lakh award for the best new unpublished and unperformed playscript in English was presented at the launch of the 14th edition of The Hindu Theatre Fest at the Taj Coromandel on Thursday.
The other shortlisted works included Sneh Sapru’s Hello Farmaaish and Swetanshu Bora’s Guilt, chosen by a panel of three judges from among the 60 entries received. The judges for this year’s award were Ramu Ramanthan, playwright and director; Shernaz Patel, film and theatre actor; and visual artist and creative writer, Parvathi Nayar.
The citation prepared by the judges for the winning play read: ‘Annie Zaidi’s Untitled-1 is a deserving winner for its timeliness, its insight and especially for its gentle reminders about the distressing times that we have been through. Set in a dystopian future, it examines the metaphors in the stories we relate about ourselves, spun in a narrative web that is fashioned from the material of our times. Using allegory as storytelling, the play is both subtle and hard-hitting. The playwright lets the play speak for itself.”
In her acceptance speech, Ms. Zaidi said that her play is not about these times but about all times. She said that freedom has always been a slippery slope and a hard-won concept. She said, “The meaning of freedom is subject to change. My dharma as a writer is to speak the truth the way I see it.”
The award was presented by Ratna Pathak Shah, actor and director. “There is a pressing need to encourage and cultivate writing for plays in the country. I hope these plays will be performed soon because, really, the final test of a play is in its performance,” said Ms. Pathak Shah.
Speaking on behalf of the panel of judges, Ms. Nayar said, “One of the things that this award does is reaffirm the fact that good writing is in the centre of a good play. The necessity of finding your voice is not just for theatre or the arts, it is essential for society as well.”
R. Ravichander, Head of Business Development-South and Group President,Yes Bank, the Title Sponsor for the fest, said: “It is our responsibility to celebrate our culture, not only for the sake of its greatness. For our own sake and for the generations to come. Our tradition mandates it.”
The Hindu’s Editor Mukund Padmanabhan welcomed the gathering.
The other event partners include Girias, Fever FM, UBER, Zebronics, Taj Coromandel and Evam.
The Hindu Theatre Fest will begin on August 10 and will be held till August 12 at Sir Mutha Venkatasubbarao Concert Hall, and between August 16-19 at Museum Theatre. Tickets are available online (www.thehindu.com/theatre-fest/) and at the venue.