Silver Jubilee Edition of IIT Madras ‘Saarang,’ one of India’s largest student-run Cultural Fests, to be held from 8-12 January

Chennai: The 25th Edition of Saarang, one of India’s largest annual cultural festival organized annually by IIT Madras, will be held between 8th and 12th January 2020. Every year, Saarang hosts more than 100 events and a footfall of 70,000 from over 500 colleges.

The Theme of the Silver Jubilee Edition of this festival, which is completely organized by IIT Madras students, is ‘Madras Memoirs.’ It is all set to evoke the memories of its decades’ worth of history, and tap into the rich heritage and culture of its mother city.

The festival kicks off with a ‘Classical Night’ on 8th January 2020. The Asia Book Record holder Mr. Rajhesh Vaidhya, a pioneer in his field of South Indian music with his use of electric and amplified strings, will grace the Open Air Theatre of Saarang.

Addressing the Press Conference here on Tuesday (7th January 2020), Prof M.S. Sivakumar, Dean (Students), IIT Madras, “This is a festival of joy and culture and is one of the largest cultural festivals in South India to be completely organized by students. We expect over 70,000 footfall for over 100 events. There are over 850 students involved in this effort. There are many regular features with one being a theme around which the event revolves. This year’s theme is ‘Madras Memoirs.’ Socially relevant campaigns were also undertaken. All the five days will end with pleasant performances by artistes in the event.”

In the past years, the organizers have successfully taken up causes such as cancer awareness, child welfare, and water conservation through Eunoia, Sukriti, and Boondh respectively, which garnered tremendous support and attention.

Addressing the Press Conference, Prof Nandita Das Gupta, Faculty Advisor, Saarang 2020, IIT Madras, said, “An event of this scale cannot be successful without the active participation of the students. A lot of different teams have put in hard work to organize Saarang 2020.”

This year, they have taken up the responsibility of continuing their mission of making education more accessible from the previous year, taking LEAP- Learning and Education Accessibility Project, to further heights of impact. The goal of LEAP is to make and provide tools and resources of education to the underprivileged and create an impact through paper recycling campaigns, manufacturing and distribution of eco-friendly notebooks to Government school children, career counselling opportunities, book donations, among other things.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Abhinav Kankane, Cultural Affairs Secretary (Literary), IIT Madras, “We always have a lot of college students from across India coming for the event. From the renowned Mr. A.R. Rahman to Mr. Benny Dayal, many big names have performed in ‘Mardi Gras,’ as Saarang use to be known earlier. We have the biggest intercollegiate student’s festival and we have international judges for choreo events. We have artistes coming from 67 differnt countries for dance events, band performances and graffiti.”

Mr. Shashwath Bacha, Cultural Affairs Secretary (Arts), IIT Madras, “This year we have special events for school students to compete in four events. We learn a lot by conducting events of such scale.”

The night of 9th January 2020 will witness the largest inter-collegiate, semi-professional dance competition in South India – ‘the Choreo Night.’ Succeeding this, Saarang’s EDM night promises to be one of the biggest ones yet with electrifying powerhouse Olly Esse opening the night and legendary Dutch duo, Dubvision performing as the headliner.

Saarang is also venturing into new avenues; Vernacular Fest, India Fest and the Film Fest add to the formidable span of interests that Saarang caters to, with a conscious effort to support and encourage niche events.

Another feather in Saarang’s cap is the Spotlight lectures, for which the line-up includes illustrious names in a variety of fields like the singer Mr. Sid Sriram, the noted historian and author Mr. Manu S. Pillai, the author Christopher C. Doyle, and the skilful ‘Chennayin FC’ players, to name a few.

The fest is all set to rock the metal head crowd with the ethnic rock band Motherjane headlining; opening the night on 11th January 2020, is the very talented Indie rock band ‘When Chai Met Toast.’

The pot of gold at the end of Saarang’s metaphorical rainbow, the Popular Night on January 12th is at the top of everyone’s bucket list. The gilding on the gold is the timeless sensation, Maestro Shankar Mahadevan headlining the night, with the six-piece experimental funk fusion band, ‘Karnautic’ opening the night of indescribable entertainment.

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