Siddhartha Mukherjee, a third year engineering student of VIT, walks unobtrusively along the campus roads, capturing the dynamism of the participants of Riviera-11 in his camera.
“If photography is about shooting candid expressions, this is the best place,” he says. Amid the clamour of competitions, in a frenzy of musical euphoria, the cultural fest culminated in a grand end on Wednesday.
While participants with black eye-patches ran around the campus frantically searching for hidden gold coins as part of ‘Pirates of Riviera,' a treasure hunt, Harry Potter-buffs had a spectacular time playing ‘Quidditch' that left the audience in splits.
Dressed as keepers, chasers, beaters and seekers, they played with dodge-balls while a snitch ran along defining the boundary. The catch – they had to run around while sitting on brooms.
A Chinese New Year celebration and a spring festival also marked the festivity of the last day. “It makes me feel at home, miles away from it,” says Cici, a final year student at VIT from China.
Cultural fests are about unleashing your spirit and ‘redeeming your hours of fun', say the students.
“Despite the controls of discipline, we managed to let our creativity out because we knew people, even the heads, would love it,” says Vaibhav Krishna, Student Council President at VIT.
Sharath Krishnan, a participant from Tiruchi, says college festivals help singers learn to gauge the mood of the audience.” As a singer, it is the best way to bring changes in your singing style,” he adds.
“But technical glitches in audio systems often occur which make all efforts go waste, this should be taken care of," says Vishnu Nair, vocalist of Deviance, the music band that won at Saarang held in IIT- Madras recently.
Besides the regular entertainment, there is the opportunity to propagate lesser-known art including pottery, puppetry, and juggling.
“Getting the best people to teach students the basics of different art forms helps them develop an interest,” says Proud Saha of VIT, talking about Ramdas Padhye, who conducted the puppetry workshop.
Telugu movie superstar and Praja Rajyam Party president K. Chiranjeevi addressed the students at the valedictory function before distributing prizes to the winners of various events. A music bash by DJ Suketu that had the audience swinging to a wild energy-filled medley of songs marked the end of the day.
College fests have started depending on web-based forums to ensure that interests of students are considered, and Riviera seems to have taken the cue. “Be it what events to have or which artists to call, we used Facebook to conduct regular polls,” says Madhusudhan C, a student organiser.
P. Parvathi, one of the few female organisers of Riviera, says it is extremely important to ensure the participants, especially those from other colleges are made to feel comfortable and important.
And this attitude was very much present at the fest as evidenced from the responses of those like Ajay Reddy from KSRM College of engineering, Kadapa, who says, “What we learnt here will help us bring changes to fests back home.”
Ultimately, like all good fests, Riviera was about the most basic of emotions. To quote S. Ayub, also from Kadapa, “The number of new friends we make is the biggest push.”
TheHindu is the media partner for Riviera 2011.