By Dr.Priyaankaa Mathur
It’s a very personal journey of every writer how one approaches a story, which comes from within. Even if the subject is the same, every writer can tell a story in one’s distinctive way, and the Screen Writer Association Awards certainly this creativity behind the art of screenwriting most astonishingly…writes Dr.Priyaankaa Mathur.
SWA Awards 2023 was yet again a glitzy affair held in Mumbai on 6 August in the presence of a galaxy of screenplay writers, producers, and directors. SWA Awards are one its kind of Awards Night which is of the screenwriters and for screenwriters, which was launched by the Screen Writers Association way back in, as part of its Diamond Jubilee Year celebrations. It is India’s first and only award for screenwriters and lyricists of Hindi Films, TV Serials /Shows, and Web Series.
The SWA 2023 awards this year were presented in 17 categories divided across Web, Television, and Films. The winners were decided by a jury comprised of eminent screenwriters and lyricists from various mediums of the entertainment industry.
The eminent jury members from across categories included Advaita Kala, Biswapati Sarkar, Nupur Pai, Hardik Mehta, Navjot Gulati, Sandeep Jain, Gunmeet Gaur Udayan, Kartick Sitaraman, Mitali Parulekar, Pawani Mehandiratta, Chandradutt Acharya, Purnendu Shekhar, Sweksha Bhagat, Ashish Pawaskar, Jagriti Thakur, Sudeep Sohni, Mukesh Nema, Vaibhav Kulkarni, Amitabh S Verma, Apurva Asrani, Arati Kadav, Devanshu Singh, Atika Chohan, Garima Obrah, Ram Kumar Singh, Swapnil Tiwari, Gaurav Solanki, Piyush Mishra, and Shelle.
In the feature film awards category Nagraj Popatrao Manjule won three awards namely- The Feature Film Debut – Best Story, Feature Film Debut- Best Screenplay, and Feature Film – Best Dialogue for the film Jhund. Divyang Thakkar won the Feature Film Debut – Best Dialogue for the film Jayeshbhai Jordaar.
Film Badhaai Ho, also won two consecutive awards, wherein Akshat Ghildial & Suman Adhikary won the award for Feature Film – Best Story and Akshat Ghildial, Suman Adhikary & Harshavardhan Kulkarni won the award for Feature Film – Best Screenplay.
In his award-winning speech, Suman Adhikary & Harshavardhan Kulkarni for Feature Film – Best Screenplay for Badhaai Ho Adhikary said, “I would like to congratulate our director Harshwardhan, who was not initially involved in the screenplay writing, but when he came he evolved the film in terms of characters and environment in the film, which was much appreciated by the audiences.”
In the Web Series Awards category, Mukhbir -The Story of a Spy won three awards in a row. Shivam Nair, Jayprad Desai, Karan Oberoi, Aseem Arora & Saurabh Swammy won Web Adaptation-Best Story, Arshad Syed won the For Web Adaptation-Best Screenplay, and Vaibhav Modi & Arshad Syed won the award for Web Adaptation-Best Dialogue.
Abhay Koranne won the award for Web Original-Best Story for Rocket Boys. While, the Guilty Minds team including Shefali Bhushan, Jayant Digambar Somalkar, Manav Bhushan & Deeksha Gujral won the award for Web Original-Best Screenplay. While Chandan Kumar won the award for Web Original Best- Dialogue for Panchayat Season 2.
In the Television Awards Category, Pushpa Impossible bagged two awards in a row. Sneha Desai & Tushar Ishwer won Television Best- Dialogue, along with Rajesh Joshi & Shabia Ravi Walia who won the award for Television -Best Screenplay for Pushpa Impossible.
Receiving the Award for Pushpa Impossible, Sneha Desai & Tushar Ishwer, said, “Television writing is one of the most difficult and I thank for the Validation coming from our community, which is a wonderful feeling. As Shabia said Pushpa Impossible is a wonderful series as it’s a landmark show not only when it comes to screenplay and dialogues but also the way it defines relationships offscreen and on screen. We have had a wonderful producer who has given us the liberty to go beyond the box.”
Further to this, Tanuja Chaturvedi won the award for Television-Best Story for Harphoul Mohini. While Raj Shekhar won the award in the TV/Web – Best Lyrics category for Aise Kyun from Mismatched Season 2.
This year the highlight of the awards ceremony was a special Mention Jury Award also presented to Prajwal Chandrashekhar & Suresh Triveni for Film Jalsa.
Giving an inside view of the judgment process, one of the jury members, Devanshu Singh told Filmifiles, “The selection process was difficult and easy at the same time, with the kind of jury members we had. There was harmony, no conflict or debate. We had very interesting conversations, as we saw all the films, and thought about the craft that what films should be awarded and why, also the emphasis was laid on categories.”
He further adds, “The jury decided to give a special jury mention award for the film which we all really loved, and it was a way ahead to clutter breaking. I thank the screenwriter’s association that they did not shy away from giving more awards to the most deserving.”
Throwing light on how difficult or easy is to write a screenplay for mundane life subjects that we come across in daily life, he tells, “There is always a reason behind every story, why you are writing and for whom you are writing it. Like in Rocketry, it’s a tribute to this scientist who needs to be celebrated. Ashutosh Gowarikar made Laggan which is sports-centric, while Suraj Barjatiya makes family films. Thus, the purpose needs to be well defined, which needs a conviction in the story. There may be a personal interest to tell one story or to throw light on the world, a writer have been brought up in. It’s a very personal journey of every writer how one approaches a story, which comes from within and so even if the subject is the same, every writer can tell a story in one’s distinctive way.”
Talking about the selection process the winners Rajesh Joshi & Shabia Ravi Walia who won the award for Television -Best Screenplay for Pushpa Impossible, told Film Files, “We found the awards selection process very genuine, since it is by the screenwriters and for the screenwriters. The best part is that many television shows which do not rate high were also nominated in SWA Awards.”
Present on the occasion was television actor, producer, and director Jamnadas Majethia who talks to Filmifiles about the challenges faced by screenplay writers and says, “The main challenge for any screenplay writer is how to present a subject in the most engaging way, so that the viewer enjoys the content and stays glued to the screen. For a screenplay writer, it’s important to understand the subject of the story very well and then add layering to the characters, in the most optimal way to present thorough entertainment to the viewers.”