The stage is set for CET's Dhwani 2012, which is on from January 12 to 15

It's time again for Dhwani, the College of Engineering's (CET) annual cultural extravaganza. Dhwani 2012, which is on from January 12 to 15, will see teams from some 160 colleges from across the country gathering for four days of competition and revelry. This is the eighth edition of the fete and this year too there are cultural events and contests, symposiums, workshops, technical competitions, debates, quizzes, and many more. Auteur Adoor Gopalakrishnan inaugurates the festivities on January 12 at 6 p.m.

“Dhwani has grown into Kerala's biggest college festival in terms of attendance, competitions, and prize money. There were 35,000 participants/spectators last year and this year we are expecting 40,000,” says Afsar Bin Majeed, event convener and final year student of electronics at CET. “This year, one of the highlights is a ‘pro show' by singer Karthik (January 14, 6.30 p.m. ). For this year's quiz competitions we have roped in veteran quizzer Arul Mani of the Karnataka Quiz Association to conduct the event. For the finale we're organising a rock concert by Avial (January 15, 9 p.m.). The city-based band will be debuting a number of songs from their new album and the concert will feature singer Neha Nair,” adds Afsar.

All the contests have been broadly categorised into ‘Hall Of Fame' (Mr. and Ms. Dhwani, Dhwani Idol, Ballet-o-Rhythm, apparel design, and so on), ‘La Belle Arti' (contest on photography, mehndi design, caricaturing, cartooning, spot sketching, short films, and so on), ‘Opera' (mimicry, street plays, mime), ‘Gaming,' ‘Raconteur' (JAM, debates, creative writing, and so on), ‘Take it to the floor' (Duplicate, Dhwani Dancer, Hum Tum), ‘Quiz,' ‘Euphony' (eastern orchestra, duet song, Anthakshari in Hindi and Malayalam…). As part of the fete there is also a ‘Model Hunt' contest and an online treasure hunt. For more information check out www.cetdhwani.com. Contact: 9747573559, 9037809924

Genesis of Dhwani

It all started in 1999 when the first edition of Dhwani was held as a sideshow to the CETEX exhibition, which was celebrating the 60th anniversary of CET. However, the idea for an annual cultural extravaganza at CET was born when a bunch of the college's students attended Indian Institute of Technology Bombay's annual fest, Mood Indigo, in early 2000. “We came back duly inspired to replicate Mood Indigo, which laid as much emphasis on the non-serious/non-competitive aspect of cultural festivals – pro-shows and informal events – as on the cut-throat competitive events,” says Ajay Prasad, of the 1999-2003 batch and former general secretary of the student's union of CET, who along with a few of his batch mates conceptualised the fete.

“Without funds in the kitty, it was pretty difficult to get traction with the college Union or the administration, so we were left to our own devices to figure out how to raise sufficient funds. The first task was to build up a small core team to take the basic idea forward and build on it. As a sort of dress rehearsal, we conducted CET's first ever film festival, ffCET in 2001. That was quite a learning experience in everything from fund raising (sponsorships starting at Rs 250) to publicity (sticking posters late at night, while dodging the cops, using maida glue boiled up on my mom's stove) to crowd control! Eventually, we managed to secure funding support from the college in the form of a fee collected from all the students,” adds Ajay. This set up the seed fund for Dhwani. Once the event got some traction, the team was rapidly scaled up and split up to look at various tasks ranging from event design to sponsorships to logistics.

Countless challenges later the team, which included among others Arun Kunjunny, Balakrishnan M., N.P. Brahmaprakash, Jobin George Mathew, and Aparna Menon, managed to cobble together a three-day event with a number of firsts for Kerala: a full-scale ‘informals' events schedule, satellite TV broadcasting, and a ‘pro nite' – a concert by Balabhaskar. The alumni association also stepped in to raise funds to build an-open air amphitheatre on campus, especially for the event. Dhwani 1.0 was held in February 2001 and attracted about 40 colleges from across Kerala. To catch a glimpse of Dhwani over the years check out Arun Kunjunny's ‘Dhwani Flashback' – a one-day exhibition of photographs that is on at the Museum Auditorium on January 10, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.