Diverse Flavours of NITR: Multi-Ethnic Fest 2K15
It is that time of the year which strikes a sense of impeding excitement into the minds and hearts of every NITR student, when late-night conferences are carried over into the wee hours of the morning making plans and discussing arrangements, when students are more likely to be seen carrying about hordes of posters and circulars, in a frantic rush to display event details about campus, than in their usual haunts at the canteens or the gym. It is also that time when weary minds at the brink of giving in to the academic pressure are revived and rejuvenated, to bask in the fiery glow of their original vitality, when hearts are melted and college sweethearts fill the lanes with their stories, when friends reconnect and more importantly, when memories to be cherished are made. Fest season is here.
The Multi-Ethnic fest has always been crucial to the ideology of celebrating the extensive diversity so unique to the NIT culture. Team MM examines the events across the days with the general opinion of the student populace.
The inaugural ceremony commenced at around 6.45 PM with a harmonious aura created by the mellifluous dholki and flute. Dr. Prabhati Sarangi, esteemed Director, Prof. Sunil Kumar Sarangi, respected judges Mr. Asim Basu and Mr. Bidhu Bhusan Nanda, President (SAC) Mr. Japes Bera, Dean (SW) Prof. K.C.Pati, Prof. Susmita Das, Mr. Nalini Nihar Nayak (SAC Officer) graced the occasion. Lighting of the lamp of learning by the guests of the evening was followed by Dr. Prabhati Sarangi declaring the fest officially open which brought the evening to life and jubilation. Honourable Director, Prof. Sunil Kumar Sarangi addressed the gathering delineating the motto behind the conduction of an annual Multi Ethnic Fest. Inaugural dances depicting the vibrant culture from distinct regions of our country and abroad like Odissi, Bihu, Sambalpuri, Dandiya, Lavani, Bhangra, Kathak, Bharatnatyam and Fusion stole the show. With this, the inaugural ceremony came to an end.
Although just a quarter of the entire nation, the culture and tradition of West India which includes Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Goa is so diversified and unique to its origins that for a true taste of Indian culture, one must visit her western shores. Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and heals the heart. Hence, the very first performance from the west was by Sanjeeban Nanda and Sachin Nambiar that not only gave the audience a taste of West Indian music but also cajoled their senses. State anthems of the above mentioned states were sung prior to their respective performances. The participants from Rajasthan presented a folk song “Gama Wada Charkha” composed by Master Salim which was sung by Rodur, a skit on Bhangarh, one of the most haunted places in the world, a folk dance and the very famous Ghoomar which left the audience spell bound. Dindi, Koli, Dhangar and Lavani from Maharashtra and Goa enthralled and mesmerized the crowd. From Madhya Pradesh, Dhimrai and a skit on the well-known Vikram and Betal was presented. Next in line was a folk dance from Chhattisgarh which arrested the attention of the crowd. Garba and Dandiya, the two very celebrated and renowned dance forms from Gujarat fascinated the crowd. Amidst the performances, a breathtaking trailer of INNOVISION 2015 was presented by the technical society in association with the cultural society of NITR.
The food section comprised of stalls from Mayfair, Jam restaurant and Chef Club of NITR. The menu listed the splendid dishes from around the nooks and corners of the aforementioned states with Crispy Chicken and Corn Chat being the most popular.
The event was a middling success with delayed start being the major loophole.
The second day of the multi-ethnic fest was a fun-filled fiesta with the south Indian folks showcasing the best of their talents. Adorned by mango-leaf decorations, with the right amount of light effects, the stage depicted the quintessential platform for the participants to groove to their home-town numbers. Soon after the felicitation of the guests of honour, groups of students clad in traditional clothing came up to the stage, singing state anthems of the Southern states of India, ensuring a perfect beginning to the splendid evening, followed by a Kuchipudi dance performance, depicting the auspicious marriage of Lord Venkateshwara, a religiously worshiped deity of south India. The spectacular nrityam, was followed by a folk dance, perfectly portraying the purpose of ‘Onam’ and its celebration, in a rhythmic manner. Then came a melodious rendition of a Carnatic medley by the music enthusiasts of the clique, leaving a lingering serenity in the minds of the audience. To showcase the harmony among the states and depicting the similarities and differences in their dance forms, a jugalbandi of Mohiniaatam, a popular dance form of Kerala and Bharatanatyam, the prime dance form of Tamil Nadu, was portrayed, setting in the mood for the evening. This enchanting blend of rhythmic footwork and lilting music, was followed by a devotional verse which is addressed to the glorification of the female half, in the Supreme Being. The show started to gain energy, when the groups of Andhra Pradesh grooved to popular folk numbers, leaving the audience clapping and hooting. The ambience of the evening was kept up well by the Folk songs of Kerala, which were sung during specific ceremonies and celebrations. Then came the exotic ‘dance and drama’ performed in reverence to different land forms of Tamil Nadu and their inevitable destruction, with five different dance forms, which received a thunderous applause from the audience. The spellbound performance was followed by songs, representing the magnanimity of Lord Krishna and the greatness of South Indian classical music. The event went on wondrously, with a rhythmic tabla percussion and an energetic folk dance performance, with exclusive south Indian folk beats, were greeted by the audience with a thunderous applause. The three different dance forms of Kerala, showcasing rituals by different religions, had the audience cheering incessantly. The night fell, as there was a dance and drama depicting the culture and tradition of Kerala, followed by a folk song rendition in Tamil, after which a folk dance was performed, in the celebration of a Telangana ritual, Bathukamma, a flower studded idol, worshiped by the residents and hailers there. The show came to an end with the acknowledgement of all the efforts put in by the organising team and the participants.
Day 3 of the multi ethnic fest was kick started by the Saraswati Vandanam which was then followed by the state anthems of Uttar Pradesha and Bihar. A beautiful performance of Kathak, the most popular form of classical dance of North India followed next. A catchy Bhojpuri song followed to which the crowd hummed along. The evening progressed with a Bihari folk dance followed by a rendition of Punjabi songs. Qawalli, which is a form of sufi music native to South Asia, was sung keeping the evening soulful in its essence succeeding which was a Bihari drama and a Pahadi dance. A captivating performance of Rasleela and a Halika Drama were showcased as the evening went on. The team went on to portray the Hariyanvi dance form of Haryana. An enchanting Hindustani number was performed next. Songs were sung and the evening came to an end with a full energy performance of Bhangra to which the whole crowd grooved along. Though it turned out to be a fulfilling evening to the junta, there were small delays between consecutive performances which left a small amount of dissatisfaction.
As the performances of the North Zone drew to a closing, the anchors for the Foreign zone stepped in as the crowd cheered excitedly. The first performance was a mash-up of folk songs of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. “Tomar Ghore Bas Kore”, a melodious Bangladeshi folk song was the next performance. This was followed by a mesmerizing dance to the Nepali folk song “Wari Jamuna Pari Jamuna”. Next in line was a Nepali folk dance, referred by the term Maithighar which paid tribute to the birth home of a girl. The Afghans performed a Raqas dance representing the country’s legacy which had the entire crowd grooving along. A soothing Qawwali-Sufi devotional song was next which was native to Afghanistan. An Afghan Qarsak dance followed which is the national dance-music in Afghanistan. Suhaiv Man Singh got the crowd up with his vocal percussion and energy-filled Beatboxing performance. This was followed by a Piano and Guitar duet by Roshini Biswas and Yugantha Perera of the song ‘River Flows in You’ which left the crowd spellbound. Punyaja Dash next stepped onstage to perform the melodious Arabic song ‘Min Ghairak’. The final performance of the evening was the most awaited Emirati dance which consisted of the dance forms Al Na’ashat and Al Radha. The entire crowd was on their feet grooving to the catchy music as the night drew to an end.
The last day of the multi-ethnic fest kicked off with a Welcome Ceremony by various dignitaries including Dr Prabhati Sarangi, Prof. KC Pati, Prof. Japes Bera, Prof. Pradip Kumar Panda and Prof. Susmita Das. The East Zone comprised primarily of the home host state of Odisha, West Bengal and the North-East.
The events kicked off with charming flute tunes by Swadhin Kumar, followed by a children’s performance. A Bengali classical performance was delivered by Mandira Karmakar, followed by a Bihu Dance, showing cultural vibrancy in full. State anthems of the above mentioned states were sung prior to their respective performances.
Odissi classical music was performed by Punyaja Dash and Sai Ranjan Rout, followed by a Bengali Dance which received critical acclaim from the audience.
The finest highlight of the day however was the tabla solo recital by Sachin Nambiar and Sanjeeban Nanda. This was followed by rapturing Odissi classical dance, Bengali folk, and Tiwa dance performances.
A touching song “Mo Priya” composed by Praffula Kar was performed by Sambit Behura, followed by the Danda Nataka dance play. A Bengali folk song and a bhajan, as an ode to Lord Jagannath were performed next. A stunning Sambalpuri dance performance called dalghai, celebrating the exuberance of the Sambalpuri sub-culture and their strong emphasis on family values was performed, and got a huge response from the crowd. A Kshatriya dance performance and a Sambalpuri folk song by Jyoti Ranjan Mahakud concluded the performances for the evening.
Mr Bidhu Bhushan Nanda was the felicitation judge with Prof. KC Pati felicitating.
Unsurprisingly, the East Zone won the coveted best zone trophy and the best anchor was bagged by Deepanker Choubey of the North Zone.
The winners and runners up of the different zones are as follows:
West Zone: Chhattisgarhi folk dance and Lavani dance
South Zone: Kuchipidi dance and Carnatic Medley
North Zone: Hindustani classical number and Haryanvi dance
Foreign Zone: Beatboxing and Emirati dance
East Zone: Bengali folk dance, Odissi dance.
The participation was slightly higher this year around, compared to last year. Whether the fest was enjoyable or not is a matter of personal opinion and is highly arguable. However, it does mark the start of the fest season, and leaves the NITR denizens wanting more.