Mardi gras aka Saarang 2007!!!
I still prefer to call it the Mardi Gras. There was something magical in that name. It was a phenomenon. Not that Saarang is not. Well for those of you who are wondering what is all this about, we are talking about the annual cultural festival of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT Madras). It was conceived a good thirty years ago as Mardi Gras and is one of the biggest and the best inter-collegiate cutural festivals in the country. It draws over 50,000 students from across and the the normally quiet IIT Madras campus buzzes with activity during this time of the year. For once, you could actually see more people than deers on your drive uptil Gajendra Circle. There are a whole host of events from ADZAP to quizees to western electric to word games. But Saarang is more famous for its pro-shows than anything else. From MS Subbulakshmi to Zakir Hussain, from Euriah Heep to Led Zepplica the OAT (Open Air Theatre) has seen it all. Not to forget our very own Moksha, Parikrama, Orange Street and the likes.
This year’s Saarang is sponsored by Airtel. Looks like they have dished out a million or more for sure. The pro-shows are exciting too. There was Global Rhythms on Day 1. I couldnt quite get to see it, but I heard was very good. Day 2 had Sukwinder Singh go Chayya Chaaya in front of a packed audience at the OAT. There is also Junk Yard Groove and Mynta. Saarang only seems to get bigger and better by the year. But, I’m afraid with so many sponsors and so many ads, the festival is slowly losing its soul. When I went on Friday for the Sukhwinder Singh show it wasnt the same feeling when I went for the Zakir show a good 5 years back. Just hope they preserve the way Saarang is held and dont commercialise it.