The names of the five winners of the second edition of the Cinestaan India’s Storytellers Contest, supported by the Screenwriters Association (SWA), were announced on the CNN-IBN television channel and on social media by Jury Chairperson and senior SWA activist Anjum Rajabali and his co-jurors Aamir Khan, Rajkumar Hirani and Juhi Chaturvedi.
Sejal Pachisia from San Francisco in California, USA, has won the grand prize of INR 25 Lakh in what is known as India’s biggest script contest. Pachisia’s script, On The Boundary, got a unanimous thumbs up from the jury chaired by veteran scriptwriter and teacher Anjum Rajabali and comprising actor-filmmaker Aamir Khan, writer-director-editor Rajkumar Hirani and screenwriter Juhi Chaturvedi.
Digant Patil from Satara in Maharashtra won the second prize, which carries a cash award of INR 10 lakh, for his story titled Guilt. The third prize went to Soumil Shukla from Mumbai for his script Laakh Maavla while the fourth prize was won by Anubhav Chopra, also from Mumbai, for the story titled Phurrr. Shukla wins INR 7 lakh while Chopra will get an award of INR 5 lakh. Neetha Syam from Coventry, Warwickshire, Britain, won the fifth prize of INR 3 lakh for her script Footprints On Water.
Congratulating the winners, actor-producer-director Aamir Khan urged all the other nearly 3,000 applicants who could not make it to the Top 5 not to get discouraged. “Scriptwriters should continue writing with more enthusiasm, especially in these times. Every filmmaker needs a good script” Khan said.
Chaturvedi said, “As I writer, I understand the joy of being appreciated, especially on a big platform like this, which motivates us to write more.” Congratulating the winners, she said she was happy to have been “a small part of your journey”.
Writer-director-editor Rajkumar Hirani said he was happy to see the contest had inspired scriptwriters and given them a platform to send in their scripts from all parts of the country. “Slowly and steadily we are moving towards our goal,” he noted and hoped that he would be able to meet and work with at least some of the winners some day.
Anjum Rajabali said the calibre of scripts received in the second edition of the contest was better and “it is heartening to see that the talent is developing”. He thanked his co-jurors for making the time to read and assess the entries. He also appreciated the hard work and the generosity of the Cinestaan team.
Speaking about the success of the second edition of the contest, Rohit Khattar, chairman of Cinestaan Digital Pvt Ltd, said, “I am grateful to our esteemed jury for working with us to bring Indian storytelling talent to the forefront, especially during these surreal times.” Khattar wished the winners success and also thanked all those who had applied, describing the work submitted as ‘stellar’.
SWA President Robin Bhatt thanked Cinestaan for organising the scipt contest. “It’s an amazing platform for writer to show their talent, with fantastic prize money to first 7 scripts. I thank Cinestaan on behalf of SWA. We’re proud to partner with you” Bhatt said.
SWA’s Hon. General Secretary Sunil Salgia extended his wishes to the winners and conveyed a special message to all the other participants. “Congratulations to all the winners. Those who didn’t win need not get disheartened, at least, they have a script ready in hand that may have a chance to get made somewhere someday. Let’s strive to improve our skill. It’s a never ending process.” Salgia said.
The Screenwriters Association congratulates all the winners and wish them all the best for their future. We encourage all the other participants who could not win a prize to keep up their spirits. For us, every screenwriter ready to learn, explore and bring out the hidden truths of society and human existence is already a winner.