Every year, IITians swear how the new edition of Saarang, January 25-29, is bigger than before.
“This year, it will be not just bigger but also better than before,” as Shreyas Rangan, from the Sponsorship, PR and Media Core team pitches it. “With a span of four days, the number of Likes on Facebook for Saarang has gone up to 20,000.”
This, two minutes into a meeting with the Core team. “There are about 24 of them in all waiting for you,” says Shakti, who is co-ordinating the interview.
All of them “Core”? He nods.
“The numbers targeted are bigger than ever,” says Arjun AK, Sponsorships. “We approached about 900 companies for sponsorship.”
“This year it’s called: IIT Madras and Nokia present Saarang 2011 in association with Derby,” Sruthi Chandrasekhar adds. “SBI and Nokia have been supporting us for the fourth year in a row.”
The hospitality team has sent out invites to over 600 colleges. “We are providing accommodation for about 1500 students,” says Rahul K, Hospitality. “This year, we are also going to announce a helpline number given the number of participants expected.”
The publicity and ticket sales have their task cut out – to bring in 50,000 footfalls. “We’ve sent out invites to colleges in 11 different states and made presentations in 150 colleges,” as Praneet, explains. Rajendra, adds that the strategy this year was to cover more regions in North. “Most colleges in South already know.”
When you are juggling funds of about Rs. 1 crore, you need a separate team to keep the monies in check. Ravi Kesav, Finance, says, “Our job is to maintain a balance between the inflows and the outflows and make sure it’s all under control.”
As Yahiya, Finance, adds: “For every expense over Rs.20,000, we make it a point to get three quotations from vendors before finalising.”
As Prashanth Pinnamaneni (Bait), Facilities and Requirements, spells out the scale: “Fifteen venues, 139 events happening in four days, 30 co-ordinators and 17 lakhs to get everything done.”
“I have 200 students lined up for the security arrangements,” says Lathy, Security. “Especially, when we have personalities like Shriya Saran and Shashi Tharoor walking in, we need to make sure the students maintain decorum. Last time, when we had a lecture by Kamal Haasan, they broke the door.”
The IITians are gunning for the ISO 9001-2008 certification.
Nishant, Cultural Secretary (Arts), tells us what’s new. “We have diverse acts from Israel, France and America as a part of the World Culture Show. We’ve identified what Saarang was lacking and brought in the Classical Arts Utsav and from this year. We are getting professionals to do all the judging for greater transparency.” Ravi Teja Kanneganti, Cultural Secretary (Literary) adds: “Our efficiency levels have improved. We have a quality management system in place.”
Jagadish, Quality Management Systems, elaborates, “We have 250 different types of feedback being collected this time. Since we are growing in size, we need to get an organisational system in place that will be useful for the future.”
Phani Kishan, Proshows, adds: “The idea is to present on a single platform a confluence of cultures. We don’t forget people who have participated here. We are considering bands who have won here to open acts.”
“The ticket sales for the Proshows started on Thursday night. We need to generate Rs. 48 lakhs through 20,000 tickets. Every year, we give about Rs. 7-8 lakhs to charity,” says Sarur, Proshows.
“Fans can pick up exclusive fan passes that gives them access to the pit closer to the stage from Kyazoonga.com,” says Anirudh, Proshows (See Box).
Vaaruni Eashwar, Events, gives an overview: “We have about 65 events to suit every interest put together by 112 student co-ordinators. This year, we have a Hip Hop Battle called Streets and an Adventure Zone with Paintball and Zorbing going on throughout.”
Rinju Rajan gives us the list of guests: “We have pre-Saarang lectures – Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday (January 19) and Nagesh Kukunoor (January 25). During Saarang, we have lectures by Malavika Sarukkai, Bombay Jayashree, Dhananjayan, Vishaka Hari, Alarmel Valli, PC Sreeram, Shriya Saran, Shaji Karun and Hari Menon.”
There will be workshops on caricature, calligraphy, magic and a Tree walk, organised by Nizhal.
Children coming from an orphanage, Bhoomi, will attend all the lectures and IITians are putting up a ‘Make a wish’ stall so that anyone walking in to Saarang will get a chance to make any child’s wish come true.
Rohit R, Events, says that Saarang will conduct the regional rounds of the Indian Sudoku Championship on January 29 (9 a.m). “If you get through, you can participate in the national championship in Mumbai in May and if you win there, you get to represent India in the world championship in Hungary.
“We also have a Model United Nations session organised in association with the UN office for India and Bhutan. The theme is Youth and Peace Keeping,” says Hariharan Mohanraj, Events.
The saarang.org website is run by the Web Operations and Design team. “We have a Saarang app with the map of IIT, you can register for events with it and even vote for your favourite team using Bluetooth for Choreo Nite, Tarang and Decibels,” says Jaichander of Web Operations.
Prince, his fellow Core, adds: “We host blogs about Saarang by volunteers and maintain the Youtube Channel, Facebook and Twitter presence.”
Anirudh, Design, says that his team, apart from designing the website, posters and brochures, have also made a couple of videos. “It’s a sneak peek, a teaser to check out what to expect.”
The design team is further split into three departments, adds Pramod. “Photography and videography, Graphic design and Ambience. This year during the Pro shows, the lights will react to the music. Since we are a tech institute, we thought we will incorporate technology wherever we can to make it look artsy.”
January 25: Classical Nite – Darpana led by Mallika Sarabhai and Keys & Classics, ensemble by Anil Srinivasan, B.S. Purushothaman, Navin Iyer, Sikkil Gurucharan and Vedant Bharadwaj
January 26: Popular Nite – the KK concert.
January 27: Choreo Nite
January 28: Finals of Light Music (Tarang) and Western (Decibels)
January 29: Rock show. The Pain of Salvation concert with opening acts by Nerverek and Bicycle Days