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.

5 Comments so far

  1. Navneeth (unregistered) on January 29th, 2007 @ 7:52 pm

    Everything’s commercialised these days, Saarang is not alone; if it’s not, it wont be long before it is.


  2. vatsan (unregistered) on January 29th, 2007 @ 9:34 pm

    saarang is now just another musical event, the culturals during the day are anyway useless.

    with competition amongst the IITs to see who collects the maximum money, it is sure to lose its soul


  3. Potpourri (unregistered) on January 30th, 2007 @ 4:42 am

    This post has made me very nostalgic about my IIT-M days. Saarang is very magical for me and I had totally forgotten that it was that time of the year… I hope, too, that Saarang doesn’t lose its charm amidst the commercialisation et al.Thanks for this post.


  4. Rajesh Muthuramalingam (unregistered) on January 31st, 2007 @ 6:42 pm

    Hey Vinod, I have lived in IIT for 22 years as my mom works there. Did my college in guindy Engg College. I exactly know what you are talking about. Saarang should be Mardi gras and non commercialized. I went all the way from Delhi last week to be there for Saarang. I have had unforgettable memories @ saarang. Would love to see pictures in this write up! I have been to many culturals in and around the city but nothing comes anywhere close to Saarang. The passion with which these volunteers (IIT Students) organize the whole show is awesome. Though I am from Anna University the culturals we organize Techofest and Kalakriti is no where near to the quality of Saarang. I hope more colleges apart from IIT take their cultural shows and organize it in a better fashion. Saarang rocks!


  5. Anand (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2007 @ 11:10 pm

    Any idea about ‘Down Sterling’ at Loyola? Do they have cultural program these days? I know they stopped for a while in mid 90’s. That used to be very good. I cannot compare that with Saarang as I have never seen Saarang.



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