Unlike most traditional awards TFA does not seek or reward full accomplishment or commercial success. Instead, we are interested in raw talent, in potential that we can nurture and encourage - in that sudden flash of pain that lifts a teenager’s verse into the realm of poetry, in the sensitivity with which a young photographer captures the elusive romance between two strangers at a market, in the pure energy of a 23-year-old’s drumming from the heart.

Over four years we have received increasing numbers of applications from such writers, photographers and musicians, and each year our juries have been challenged by the variety of skills your applications have demonstrated.

TFA began giving awards in 2005, with an award for music; in 2006 we expanded our reach to include creative writing; and in 2008 we added an award for photography to our list. As the number of awards grew, we became more and more aware of a community of young artists from across India, eager to explore their own talents and share them with a larger audience.

The TFA awards are by no means the end of this quest, merely the beginning; we hope, through them, to give you a fledgling sense of a larger world of opportunity, to say to you, in effect, ‘Don’t stop now’.

For details of the awards in different categories, please read on.

Toto’s first love and TFA’s first award recognises exceptionally talented bands and individuals making any kind of music, in any language, from rock to folk or metal to jazz. The only constraint is that applicants must be under 30 years of age, and their submissions must be original compositions.

In 2008, TFA tied up with Counter Culture Records, and winners of the TFA Music Award now get the unique opportunity to record a full album at the CCR studio, which will then be released by this independent music label.

Myndsnare (2005)
Demonic Resurrection (2006)
Lounge Piranha (2007)
Shefali Alvares (2008)

Previous Juries
All TFA awards are judged by external juries composed of leading practitioners of and experts in the particular arts. All submissions are sent to them anonymously, and TFA does not, in any way, influence their final decision. So far, the Music Award has been judged by Luke Kenny (VJ, Programming Head Channel V), Vishal Dadlani (Pentagram, Vishal-Shekhar), Jitin Abraham (Programming Head Vh1) and Arjun Sankalia (Sony BMG). Add rest of names.

Overall the juries have agreed that it is “good to see so much talent. The number of entries was astounding and most of them were of a very high quality. We now have a serious talent bank that can be tapped in the future.” [TFA Music Award Jury, 2007]

Creative Writing

Talent is hard to judge in any art form, but perhaps most so in writing, which demands objectivity and distance as much as it does immediacy and passion. Since 2006, TFA has divided an award of Rs. 50,000 between 2 writers who are between 18 and 30 years old, and whose entries reflect something of this mysterious combination. The volume of entries has grown exponentially over the years, as has the diversity of styles and themes - from performance poetry to science fiction - explored in the submissions.

Previous Winners
The quality of submissions in 2006 was so high that the jury decided to award three instead of two writers. These were Nisha Susan, Shakti Bhatt, SS Prasad. Since then, the Writing Awards have gone to Monica Mody, Sneha Rajaram (2007), Anindita Sengupta, Arka Mukhopadhyay (2008), Aditi Machado, Neel Choudhuri (2009), and Abhishek Majumdar, Ram Ganesh Kamatham (2010).

Previous Juries
All TFA awards are judged by external juries composed of leading practitioners of and experts in the particular arts. All submissions are sent to them anonymously, and TFA does not, in any way, influence their final decision. So far, the Writing Award has been judged by eminent writers and critics including Gieve Patel (painter, poet and playwright), Adil Jussawalla (poet and literary critic), Keki Daruwalla (poet and novelist), Githa Hariharan (novelist), Arul Mani (writer and critic), Shanta Gokhale (critic and journalist) and Girish Shahane (art, film and literature critic, and poet).

All the juries have reacted differently to each year’s entries. Some have found the poetry, on average, a cut above the prose. Others have felt that trying to display too much diversity or range can weaken a submission. We hope that the extracts from their comments below will help you gauge the general criteria by which your work will be judged.

TFA Writing Award Jury (2007)
"Our decision was made difficult by the fact that there was a greater variance within entries than between them. In other words, very often one of the three or four submissions by a writer would appeal to us, but its effect was undercut by other submissions which appeared amateurish. Where there were more than two submissions from a single entrant, there was frequently a very large gap in form between one and the other. Perhaps the candidates wanted to display the variety of styles at their command, but the impression it gave in each case was of a writer who hadn’t found his or her voice. This is not necessarily a bad thing considering the age of the participants, but it left the judge’s with a dilemma. We decided to concentrate on the crests rather than the troughs, in other words, to pick out entries where something really excited us rather than ones which were uniformly proficient but lacked a certain spark.”

The youngest of the TFA Awards, the TFA-Tasveer Photography Award was introduced in 2008. To be eligible, you must be between 18 and 30 years old, and have an eye for images that evoke moods or tell stories, whether taken from the balcony of your flat or from the peak of a mountain in the wild. Each year, two winning entries receive a cash prize of Rs. 25,000 each.

Previous Winners
The 2008 TFA-Tasveer Photography Award was given to Siddharth Jain and Zubin Pastakia.