Date:22/01/2004 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/lf/2004/01/22/stories/2004012209540200.htm
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Saarang has just begun



A music concert on the inaugural day.

THERE IS life. And there is life in the woods of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), during Saarang.

This year, the IITians in association with E-Serve, might have put even the marketing minds from IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) to shame. Enter the gates of IIT and you will soon find out why.

The biggest sponsorship drive ever happened this time. And the result? A whopping 250 per cent increase since last year. Every five feet, there is a banner or a signboard or a glow sign or a poster or a dangler.

"We went through the files of the previous Saarangs and started work by August. We had seven committees between 12 core members. We wanted to make it really big this time. We have got the best guys lined up for the show," said Sharath Chandra, one of the cultural secretaries.

The festivity was in the air. The campus well lit up and Saarang (Saarang, incidentally, is the breed of deer found on campus) was playing hide and seek with the visitors hours before the start of the festival.

The official start itself, however, was low profile. The IIT Director, M.S. Ananth, went on a trip down memory lane and hoped the students would make this a fun-filled fest rather. There was also a word of caution about the need to regulate speed limits within the campus and the responsibility faced by the hosts with hundreds of students from all over the country thronging the fest.

"Saarang always has had low-profile starts. Last year was an exception, we incidentally got Javed Akhtar coming in. The fest picks up steam after the low-profile start," Prof. Idichandy V.G, Dean of Students, said. Prof. L.S. Ganesh and Prof. S. Srinivasa Murthy, faculty of IIT, recalled the days when Saarang was Mardi Gras. And even before that, it was merely called Cultural Week. That was way back in the early 1970s.

Soon after the formal inauguration, it was time for the Classical music concerts. K. Bhaskaran (flute), M. Chandramouli (violin), Haridwara Mangalam Palanivel (special thavil) and Adambakkam Shankar (ghatam) were the first to go on stage.

After a short break, T.M. Krishna (vocals) joined M. Chandramouli (violin), Thiruvarur Bhakthavatsalam (mridangam) and V. Suresh (ghatam) for the closing act. The action in the stall area has already started. There's the script writing contest organised by Fast-Track that lets five winners to shoot their own three-minute film during the fest. The prize-winning films will also be screened in the course of the fest.

"Love life. Live a Saarang," as the tag line goes this year. Junta, Saarang has only begun.

By Sudhish Kamath

Photo: K.V. Srinivasan

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