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Cinestaan script contest second winner Digant Patil: This is a reward as well as an opportunity

Digant Patil won the second prize and a cash award of Rs10 lakh for his screenplay, Guilt.

Photo: Courtesy Digant Patil

Sonal Pandya

The second prize winner at the second edition of the Cinestaan India’s Storytellers Contest was nabbed by Digant Patil from Satara, a small city in western Maharashtra, for his screenplay titled Guilt. Patil, who is also a professional tabla player, won a cash award of Rs10 lakh.

“Being appreciated at such a big stage has filled me with positivity,” Patil told Cinestaan.com on e-mail about his second prize. “It gives you a lot of confidence when such stalwarts judge your work and appreciate it. I cannot thank Cinestaan enough for giving upcoming writers like myself this platform.”

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The jury for the contest was chaired by veteran screenwriter and teacher Anjum Rajabali and comprises actor-filmmaker Aamir Khan, writer-editor-director Rajkumar Hirani and screenwriter Juhi Chaturvedi.

Patil remarked that there was no reason not to enter the contest after he heard about the winners of the first edition, which ended in 2018. He felt it was a unique opportunity to get his writing judged by people whose work he admires.

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Patil was introduced to screenplay writing through an audiovisual production course in college, and later completed his master's degree in Physics. Guilt is based on his IIT Bombay days where he spent time doing theoretical research in physics for two years before turning to writing.

“In that period, I saw from a close distance how stress plays a role in the student’s life in these big institutes,” Patil explained. “The sources of this stress can be multiple. In my story, titled Guilt, a student commits suicide without leaving any note behind, and multiple people carry the guilt of this death because of their own made-up theories. It’s about how human psychology deals with guilt in many different ways, and also how the truth looks different from different angles.”

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Patil has also completed a documentary, Devdasi, which has been screened at film festivals, and is looking forward to taking his Guilt screenplay to the big screen some day.

“Thanks to Cinestaan, it’s now possible for me to connect with many people who might take an interest in this script," he said. "My next effort will be towards turning this dream on paper into a dream on screen.”

The prize also creates a big shift in his life. “The change this is going to bring to my life will be twofold,” he elaborated. “I will feel more confident in writing the stories I really want to tell the world. That’s an internal change. There’s an external change as well.

"Now, I will be able to connect with a lot more people, which will create more possibilities going forward. This prize is as much an opportunity as it’s a reward, if not more!”