Staff Reporter

Much-awaited annual students' cultural festival kicks off today

CHENNAI: Saarang, IIT Madras' annual cultural festival and one of the most awaited inter-collegiate events in the country, kicks off Thursday.

Over the next five days, nearly 50,000 students will compete in various events, pit their wits, cheer their mates, jive to some great music and also, as a first, make a conscious effort to segregate waste to conserve the unique biodiversity of the campus.

Professor V.G. Idichandy, Dean of Students, said students were keen to make it a `green' Saarang this year through environment-friendly initiatives. "The students are keen to conserve the bio-diversity of the campus. There would be separate bins marking bio-degradable and bio non-degradable waste and all participants will be asked to segregate the waste before disposing them."

New contests

In addition to the all-time favourites such as "Choreo Night," light music, quiz, `Decibels' - the semi-professional rock contest, JAM (just a minute) and debate competitions, the students this time have added some new contests including the `Saarang Photography Challenge' and short film making contest.

Cultural Affairs secretary Amit Shahani said Saarang this year would have 52 events in various categories of literary events, music events, speaking events, quizzes, fine arts and performance events among others. "We have some unique events like the `Multi-lingual Laughter Challenge' and `Whose line is it anyway' that will surely be a hit among the students."

There will be four professional shows during the evenings, the line-up including international rock band Global Rhythms and Bollywood singer Sukhwinder Singh. French Celtic rock n roll group Merzhin will perform on January 29 at the open-air auditorium within the campus. Local band Junkyard Groove, which recently won a rock competition in Dubai, will also perform.

Airtel Mobile, the primary sponsor for the cultural festival, said it would be facilitating mobile-based opinion polls, special ring tones and games exclusively for the event. The company's Chief Operating Officer Mahesh Thampi praised the students for putting together a professional event.

Online sales

Students said tickets for the professional music shows would also be available through their online shop on official website They will also be selling Saarang memorabilia including T-shirts and mugs.