ACTA 2019 winners show flair for arts

WINNER of the Eastern Eye Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts: Sudha Bhuchar and Kristine Landon-Smith
Bhuchar and Landon-Smith set up Tamasha in 1989 with the aim of staging contemporary theatre. They went on to become one of the most accomplished names, putting on plays like A Tainted Dawn, The Trouble with Asian Men and Made in India. Bhuchar spent over 20 years in her role as founder and creative director, while Landon-Smith served as a much-respected director, educator and producer of theatre. They have been instrumental in helping to launch the careers of dozens of household names.

Winner of the Eastern Eye Editor’s Special Award 2019 – The Aga Khan Centre in King’s Cross
The new Aga Khan Centre in Kings Cross was opened by His Highness the Aga Khan
and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales in June last year. The new complex incorporates courtyards, terraces and beautifully curated gardens. The centre houses the Aga Khan Foundation, the Aga Khan University and the Institute for Ismaili Studies, which promotes a better understanding of Islam and Islamic culture.

Winner of the Eastern Eye People’s Choice Award: Mandip Gill for acting
Once a regular on popular soap Hollyoaks, Gill is currently starring in the eleventh season of Doctor Who. She plays fan favourite Yasmin ‘Yaz’ Khan, a companion of the thirteenth Doctor. One of her most memorable moments was in Vinay Patel’s episode, Demons of the
Punjab, when we learnt about Yaz’s family history. Her other TV credits include The Good Karma Hospital.

Winner of the Eastern Eye Award for Film, TV & Drama, Best Actress: Priyanga Burford for Press
Actress and writer Burford recently starred in BBC One’s Press, playing the leading role of Amina Chaudury, the editor of a struggling broadsheet. Her other TV credits include Channel 4 mockumentary UKIP: The First 100 Days in which she played the fictional Deepa Kaur, the first Asian woman to be elected as a UKIP MP, King Charles III Press, A Long Way
Down, Criminal, Fearless, and The Thick of It. Theatre credits include playing Hermione
at The Globe Theatre in The Winter’s Tale, Consent at The National Theatre, and The Effect at Sheffield Crucible.

Winner of the Eastern Eye Award for Film, TV & Drama, Best Actor: Ash Tandon for Bodyguard
Tandon, who began his acting career in early 2000, plays detective chief inspector
Deepak Sharma in Bodyguard. Over the years he has appeared in several TV dramas and is known for his recurring role as PC Daullah in Coronation Street. He recently starred in Scott and Bailey, Good Karma Hospital and Ordinary Lives.

Winner of the Award for Theatre, Best Actress: Shobna Gulati for Richard II
Actress Gulati, well-known for her role as Anita in Victoria Wood’s Dinnerladies and as Sunita in Coronation Street, recently starred in Richard II at Shakespeare’s Globe. Her other theatre credits include Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (The Apollo Theatre), Daisy Pulls It Off (The Park), Anita & Me (Birmingham Rep and Touring Consortium) and the
Mammia Mia international tour. Her TV credits include Doctor Who, River City, In the Club and Paranoid.

Winner of the Award for Theatre, Best Actor: Nitin Ganatra for End of the Pier
Ganatra returned to the theatre in End of the Pier after an absence of sixteen years
in a poignant British comedy about stand-ups old and new. Born in Kenya, Ganatra went on to study under the tutelage of the late master theatre practitioner, renowned Polish director Jerzy Grotowski in Italy. He is well-known for his leading role in BBC’s EastEnders and has
worked with Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes in To the Green Fields Beyond and with Tim Burton in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Winner of the Award for Contemporary Music: Naughty Boy for Bungee Jumping
Acclaimed producer and songwriter Naughty Boy’s recent single, Bungee Jumping, features Emeli Sandé and Pakistani musical icon Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. Naughty Boy rose to fame in 2013 with his debut album Hotel Cabana, which made its chart debut at number two in
the UK. His second studio album is set for release later this year. He has worked
with an array of stars, including Sam Smith, Joe Jonas, Ed Sheeran and Beyoncé, to name a few.

Winner of the Award for Traditional Music: Sanju Sahai for his tabla solo at the Barbican
Last October, internationally acclaimed tabla artist Sahai performed his two-hour long solo at the Barbican as part of the annual Darbar Festival. He began playing tabla at the age of four, gave his first solo performance at a major festival at nine, and completed his master’s in music by eighteen. He has since accompanied many of India’s legendary musicians,
including Pandit Birju Maharaj and Pandits Rajan and Sajan Mishra, and has also worked with a diverse range of artists including Akram Khan, Anoushka Shankar and Michael Nyman.

Winner of the Community Engagement Award: The Queen’s Gallery for Splendours
of the Subcontinent, curated by Emily Hannam and Kajal Meghani
The Splendours of the Subcontinent exhibition displayed at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace last year. The exhibition was in two parts: A Prince’s Tour of
India 1875-6, curated by Meghani to examine the tour of the Indian subcontinent
by the Prince of Wales, and Four Centuries of South Asian Paintings and Manuscripts, curated by Hannam to explore the long-standing relationship between the monarchy and South Asia. The exhibitions brought together some of the finest examples of craftsmanship
and literary and artistic production from the Indian subcontinent.

Winner of the Emerging Artist Award – supported by Arts Council England: Antonio Aakeel for Eaten by Lions
Aakeel, a British-Asian actor born in the West Midlands, recently starred as Omar in Eaten by Lions in his first leading film role. A wry social comedy, he shines in this ode to diversity. Aakeel has previously appeared in the recent Tomb Raider reboot, the London crime thriller City of Tiny Lights, and the BAFTA award-winning series Three Girls (BBC). He is set to star as a regular in BBC One’s upcoming thriller series Dublin Murders and plays a leading role in Abid Khan’s coming-of-age debut feature Granada Nights, releasing in 2020.

Winner of the Award for Best Scriptwriter: Vinay Patel for Doctor Who: Demons of the Punjab
Award-winning screenwriter Patel wrote one of the most talked about episodes in Doctor Who. Demons of the Punjab saw Doctor Who and her sturdy crew travel back in time to the Punjab in 1947. His latest play, An Adventure, ran at the Bush Theatre in late 2018. His first piece for television, Murdered By My Father, won the Royal Television Society award for
Best Single Drama and was nominated for three BAFTAs. Vinay was named a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit for his work. He has since written for Paines Plough, ITV, Channel 4 and the BFI.

Winner of the Award for Best Director: Indhu Rubasingham for White Teeth
Rubasingham, the artistic director at Kiln Theatre, produced and directed the first ever stage adaptation of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth, a novel set in Kiln Theatre’s north-west London community. Using music, White Teeth was a huge hit offering multiple perspectives on what Smith calls the ‘immigrant experiment.’ Rubasingham was appointed artistic
director of Kiln Theatre in 2012, becoming the first non-white woman to run a major London theatre. She was awarded an MBE in 2017 for services to theatre.

Winner of the Award for Best Production: Tartuffe by The Royal Shakespeare Company
BAFTA and Emmy award-winning writers Anil Gupta and Richard Pinto relocated Molière’s provocative French classic, Tartuffe, first performed in 1664, to Birmingham’s Pakistani Muslim community in 2018. A contemporary take on the French satire, the comedy explores the abuses of faith and religious hypocrisy, shedding light on the British Asian experience. The play toured last year to critical acclaim, collecting four and five-star reviews nationally and locally. Tartuffe was directed by Iqbal Khan.

Winner of the Award for Best Presenter: Rana Mitter for Chinese Characters
Mitter presented Chinese Characters, a history of China seen through twenty lives, on Radio 4 in 2018. It was widely acclaimed as both a work of great scholarship and an entertaining examination of the history of the world’s most populous people. Mitter is professor of history and politics of modern China at Oxford University, and is a fellow of the British Academy. His most recent book China’s War with Japan, 1937-45: The Struggle
for Survival) won the 2014 Duke of Westminster’s Medal for Military Literature
and was a Book of the Year in the Financial Times and The Economist.

Winner of the Award for Comedy: Paul Chowdhry for Live Innit
Chowdhry is an award-winning stand-up comedian and actor. He has starred in numerous TV shows including Taskmaster, The Russell Howard Hour, Stand Up for the Week and Live at the Apollo. In autumn 2017, he embarked on his biggest stand-up tour Live Innit. Huge demand for tickets led to extra shows being added nationwide, including a historic sold-out show at Wembley Arena, making Chowdhry the first British Asian standup to sell out the 10,000-seater venue.

Winner of the Award for Photography: Suki Dhanda for Race, Place and Diversity by the Seaside
London-based photographer Dhanda has been shooting professionally for over 20 years. Her Race, Place and Diversity by the Seaside exhibition explores cultural diversity along the shoreline of Plymouth. As a portrait specialist, Dhanda has photographed a wide range of subjects from everyday people with a story to tell actors, musicians and politicians, including Sir David Attenborough, Tony Blair, Stormzy and Rita Ora, to name a few.

Winner of the Award for Literature: Preti Taneja for We That Are Young
Taneja was born and grew up in the UK. She has a background in minority rights
reporting and now teaches writing in prisons and universities. Her debut novel, We That Are Young (2017), is a modern-day recasting of Shakespeare’s King Lear in present-day Delhi. After struggling to find a UK publisher, We That Are Young went on to win numerous awards, including the 2018 Desmond Eliot Prize for the UK’s best first novel and the Prix
Jan Michalski, Europe’s premier award for a work of world literature. It is currently in development for a major international TV series with Gaumont.

Winner of the Award for Dance: Sonia Sabri for Virago
Sabri, an award-winning dancer-choreographer, is artistic director at the Sonia Sabri Company. Creating work that spans from classical north Indian Kathak to explorations of contemporary approaches, Sabri’s productions reflect her appreciation of eastern and western cultures. Her latest dance-digital solo production, Virago, explores themes of gender, looking at the light versus dark and the real versus fairy-tale versions of female
existence. She has also collaborated across dance styles and art forms and has worked with artists including Sarvar Sabri, Arlene Phillips, Nitin Sawhney and Sir Trevor Nunn.

Winner of the Award for Arts – The Singh Twins for Rule Britannia: Legacies of Exchange
The Singh Twins are multi-award-winning contemporary artists. Rule Britannia was commissioned by the Royal Collection Trust and sees both British and Indian motifs mixed together. Both English and Indian, it is both a work of great intricacy and delicacy but also sustains an intelligent and highly poignant narrative about the two countries’ involvement
in the other. The sisters have been awarded an MBE, honorary doctorates and honorary citizenships in Liverpool in recognition of their contribution to art. Their solo shows have seen them showcase works at London’s National Portrait Gallery and India’s National Gallery of Modern Art. Their previous work in 2018, Slaves of Fashion, explored the
history of Indian textiles, empire, enslavement and luxury consumerism.

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