Life @ Saarang 2010

My previous post was on how I played a role in Saarang behind the scenes. This one is about my 5 days at Saarang, how I lived life while heaven was waiting!!!

The highlight of this year’s Saarang was undoubtedly the pro shows, lectures and of course, the grub stalls.

Saarang lecture series started with  back to back sessions by Dr. Kamal Haasan and Mr Gautam Menon. The Kamal Haasan lecture was a very short affair in which he responded to questions from the audience. It is reported that queues outside ICSR started at 6.30 am for 9 am lecture and it extended till CRC. I woke up at 8.30, left for the lecture at 9, walked into ICSR and sat in the second row. Kamal Haasan was at his best with nice rejoinders at some tricky questions. I will recount a couple of my favorites, though not quoting him verbatim.

“I do what I like doing the best and I am paid for it” on being asked if he was a workaholic.

“I like sweets, but I cannot make that as my staple diet” on his views on free time.

He also extended his hand to join IIT in developing technology for cinema like development of Red Camera and said that the first step has already been taken probably referring to the screenwriting workshop that happened in summer.The worst thing to happen during the lecture was a skirmish outside. The famed security coord who is called with a name that rhymes with Parle-G shouts, “WHO CALLED YOU HERE?” which unfortunately fell into Kamal’s ears and he replied, “I hope that question is not directed at me.” The repercussions to this were sad and the management dealt with the people behind it severely.

Gautam Menon enthralled the crowd with some witty remarks and personal observations. Though, I wondered if he was too ambitious with his claims that tamil cinema has an international audience. I am in no way saying, I do not want this, but still the levels of tamil cinema has to go up several steps higher to reach this stage. Some snippets from Gautam Menon (again these are not reproduced verbatim and some are translations from tamil.)

On working with megastar Kamal Haasan in Vetayadu Vilayadu. The scene was Kamal acting a tough cop with Jyothika.

Gautam: “Sir, I think you should tone down the toughness a bit.”

Kamal: “Are you teaching me how to act?”

Gautam: “With respect sir, no. I am merely suggesting that I think this much toughness is not needed”

Kamal: “engae, nadichu kaminga” (Where? Act and show!!!)

Apparently Kamal went on to say some other director had the pluck to teach him acting. Maybe you have to reach great heights like Kamal sir to retort like that.

Gautam Menon went on to give publicity for his new movie and also expressed a desire to make a 3d Alice in Wonderland with help from IIT. Lets wait and see.

Grub stalls at Saarang were awesome. This was one Saarang in which the grub coupons were not getting over whatever I ate. There just seemed to be infinite coupons. As usual Frankies, iVil stalls and chat items were awesome. For the first time, I had enough coupons to buy pizza. The milkshakes were also good, though a bit on the costlier side. Italian softies were conspicuous by its absence. My non-vegetarian friends inform me that the “dead body” Shavarma was simply mind blasting.  The kitchens were a cup. Both Wangs, for poor food quality and Californian, for its poor service quality.

2HBC, the street hip-hop dance was simply amazing. I was awed when a guy spun on his head.

The quizzes were as arbit as usual with me walking out of every quiz halfway through the prelims.

The core gumbaal had a couple of paint ball games. It was a wonderful experience and the coords informed us that we would get 45 bullets each and no time restriction. The first game was won by the opposite camp and the second game by my team. In the first game aftert surviving till 2 on 2, I was shot in the back by JoJo, who sports a docile personality, while trying to take cover. Shooting from the back is not manly, I say. In the second game I was ruthless and shot 2 people finally persishing by shooting Jayanth on the head while he shot my head at precisely the same moment. Overall it was fun as our team won this game.

The pro shows were awesome. On day 0, Isha Sharvani exhibited how flexible a human body can get. The Isha Sharvani performance was not to be photographed or video-graphed. The reason was because she said, “I’ll be wearing less clothes, or do you want me to be fully clad?” to the proshow team who preferred to ban photographs rather than settle for a fully clad Ms Sharvani.

Day 1 had The Choreo Nite which was worth watching. College of Engineering, Trivandrum walked away with top honours in themed category, evoking home sickness from me. The non-themed category went to Loyola who did a good show with UV lights and all. It was generally agreed that WCC, Stella Mary’s and few other women colleges had nice performers, though no one noticed their performance.

Day 2 had The Tarang finals which was just about okay. It did not match the levels of previous years. The home team interestingly named as Thayir Vadai cupped big time with no coordination at all.

On Day 3, SEL thrilled the audience by singing their best numbers from all time hits. I had the greatest time of my life when the core group joined Shankar Mahadevan on stage for “Sinbad the sailor”. We danced like mad and I had a night which I will cherish forever. I have not got the photographs yet. I will put it up once I get them.

Some thrills of the night was when a spons coord gave Loy complimentary passes to the show and told him, “I don’t actually like their songs. But my mother is a big fan” without knowing to whom she was talking to. Thankfully Loy took it in a good sense.

The rock show,on Day 4, was actually good even though it was publicized as Heavy trash metal, which resulted in lesser audience. Hurricane bells did a decent job with many soft numbers. Hammer fall was also good with good guitar and drums and less heavy metal. The chai and parippu vada(pun intended. For non-mallus, parippu vada is a a mallu delicacy.) given to the performers did its job as they performed on a high. I am not sure if parippu vada was served, though I am pretty sure chai was given.

These are some of the pics which I could get hold of. Remaining are being processed. I will try to upload them as and when I get those.

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WebOps at Saarang 2010

Saarang 2010. Annual cultural festival of IIT Madras. As someone who has been constantly visiting websites related to IIT Madras from my 9 th standard, I was very fortunate and deeply honoured to head a team that developed one of the websites which I used to visit in my high school. To say the least, it was fun and extremely gratifying to play my part in the organization of a mammoth festival of the scale of Saarang. The part I was handling, is fondly known as WebOps (officially rechristened as Web & Mobile Applications). Our team, basically, deals with building and maintaining the website and various other internal and external portals. We also develop the mobile applications based on JAVA. I was extremely fortunate to have a like minded and hard working friend as my co-core. We were blessed with a talented team willing to learn,innovate and implement the various ideas which we had.

The building of main website got valuable inputs and help from the famed design team. Saarang 2009 had proved the advantages of having a Design core with webops background. This time also we certify that we can do wonders on the website with help from a good design team. Apart from the website, we handle the numerous portals for various departments like hospitality, even registrations, facilities and finance. I am sure the coordinators learnt a great deal in the art of website design and writing bug free codes.

Visit the site here.

Saarang 2009 saw the introduction of a full fledged JAVA mobile application complete with schedule, coordinator information and a fairly interactive map. In Saarang 2010, our mobile applications team left no stone unturned in making a brilliant, all encompassing mobile application. The numerous additions to the application this year includes a mobile quiz, which received tremendous participation and was lapped up by the users, a fully interactive map of the festive area with current and upcoming events shown. Features to message, in addition to call, all the people behind Saarang 2010 was added. Portability across phones was ensured and 4 different versions of the app was released to cater to different versions of phones.  The mobile team has surpassed levels and we need to look forward to what the next years boys come out with to better our work. Another major attraction this Saarang was the introduction of Bluetooth proximity marketing. The entire Saarang festive area was bluetooth enabled. We sent out the mobile application, mobile themes, wallpapers, news updates, ringtones and ad-campaigns of sponsors. The bluetooth initiative was well received by the crowd as our bluetooth servers catered to over 10000+ downloads with peak traffic coming from OAT and grub stalls.

Catch the application here.

That was a brief glimpse of WebOps at Saarang 2010. I will be back with other stories about Saarang soon. Till then, adios amigos.