Except for one's fondness for open source technology, especially an Android phone and the other's preference for the ‘exclusive' Blackberry, there are very few things that tell apart Suthirth Vaidya from Siddharth Vaidya, identical twins and second year engineering students at IIT-Madras. The brothers are also crazy fans of metal rock, and perhaps the best incentive for them, for running around coordinating all events at Saarang 2012 is a live performance by Swedish band Vildhjarta.

With ‘Thall' a war cry meant for the fans of the band resonating around the campus, there are many like the brothers who were looking forward to the concert. The brothers however know everything about the music band. “They use a lot of distorted guitar. They have got rid of their growling now, but you have to have listened to a lot of metal to understand what they are talking about,” says Suthirth, very seriously.

Art and craft may be very broad with different specifics, but surprisingly there seems to be everything for everybody at Saarang 2012 to engage with. Learning to write on a grain of rice, getting streaks of coloured hair, making chocolate balls and getting decorative art embossed on your nails, you can do all of this and much more here.

Engaging JAM

Among the other highlights on Saturday was also JAM, where every participant had to speak on a given phrase, usually a very mundane one, without losing his tempo. “The challenge for many was to keep talking humorously without invoking vulgar humour,” said Sunny Bhati, a student in the audience.

Amid the head banging and wild frenzy of rock music was also the wisdom imparted on classical arts and the relevance of classical dance forms in today's world.

Classical and contemporary dancer Anita R. Ratnam explained how delving into learning Mohiniattam and Kathakali as a Bharatanatyam dancer helped her gain strength and the ability to enter the world of theatre.

“Mohiniattam goes in curves while Kathakali gives greater flexibility to facial expression. Martial arts give more strength to the muscles,” she said about her experience of learning T'ai chi and Kalarippayattu.

Cultural memories from the Ramayana and Mahabharata, and even human emotions such as Rajas rasa (love) would always hold relevance, she said, adding: “The best thing about Indian classical arts is that they give you the space to explore human emotions and also build on them with your imagination.”

The images classical arts create are so popular that universities, including the Harvard want Indian artists who are at the peak of their creativity to be their consultants. Sociologists are no longer sufficient, Ms. Ratnam said. However, she added that the economics of dance is not in sync with the reality of India.

“There are many who learn dance, but not many who take it up professionally, mainly because it has not got the place it deserves.”

Dance artistes travel abroad because they get paid better and have better facilities, she said, pointing out that even the most popular Chennai music season pays just around Rs.20,000 to the top dancer which needs to be shared among supporting dancers, musicians, light men and others.

Art management, she added, was a much required and better paying field that can help professionalise many issues.

The IIT-M campus on Sunday will witness the last day of the fest, filled with the final rounds of all events, and will end with a concert by music composers Vishal Shekar. The Hindu is the media partner for the event.

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