A Circus within a circus: The Great NITRUTSAV Show
A typical NIT Rourkela alumnus remembers (and misses) three things from his time here: the company, the campus and the fests. Be it the freezing nights, crowded restaurants or the remotely accessible campus, nothing saps the gusto of the students from travelling miles just to witness the cultural carousel that is NITRUTSAV. Themed befittingly after the circus, the great Nitrutsav show promised to be bold as well as a continuance of all the ingredients that make Odisha's largest cultural fest so great and charmlike.
The fest was organized by the team headed by two elected convenors: Anubhav Sharma and Ranjeet Kumar along with the Dean’s nominated Convenor Swapnil Sahoo. The conduction and management of NITRUTSAV were done by the Literary Society of SAC while the Celebrity Night was taken care of by the Arts and Cultural Society, which now has been rescheduled to March 10.
The fest, held from 1st to 3rd February, witnessed a low footfall as compared to previous years because of the rescheduling of Celebrity Night.
One of the elected Fest Conveners— Ranjeet Kumar, however, stated (translated):
The proshows of this year featured the much renowned Progressive Brothers, who performed at IIT Kgp during the SpringFest on 26th January. They were also supposed to visit IIT Tirupati and VIT Vellore later. They were better as compared to last year. The Riddles band of the third day had also performed in various colleges and were well-received before coming here. Due to a lower budget of 4 lakhs, as compared to the lumpsum 20 lakhs that was expected, we opted for the band instead of a singer. I personally requested Nivedita Maam for a band to enhance the final day ambience. Overall, both Proshows were very good in my opinion.
An excess of 500 students registered for the fest including a few students from NIT Rourkela itself. The payments were made via the online portal in the website where the team received only 185 payments which were directly transferred to the SAC account. Finally, 180 participants turned up for the fest from various colleges of Odisha including ITER, IGIT Sarang, NIFT, KIIT, IIT Bhubaneswar and other local colleges of Rourkela.
Around 150 registered participants were provided with accommodation. The accommodation was provided since Thursday where the boys stayed in SD Hall and girls in KMS Hall of Residence.
With a limited budget of 13 Lakhs allocated by SAC and a sponsorship amount of around 1.5 Lakhs, the team pulled off the cultural fest that made NITR witness “Circus”, as indicated through the theme based decorations.
According to Tarun Verma from the batch of 2021:
NITRUTSAV seemed everything except like a fest. The entire academic area seemed quite empty, especially on the third day. Although events like Maktub and Fashionista were the major hits but the Proshows were not as attractive as they should have been. Better stage decorations and improvements on sound and light system could have made the situation better.
Although the inauguration was scheduled to be held at around 2:00 PM on February 1, it got delayed by an hour and a half. The hosts for the inauguration included Sravya Sridhar, Rashmitha Pulsam, V. Ankit and Vikrant. The ceremony started with the lighting up of lamps by the dignitaries including Dr. Sukhdev Meher, Director-in-charge and Simanchala Panigrahi, Dean, Student Welfare. The inauguration event proceeded with the speech of Prof. Panigrahi who enlightened the audience with his wise words. Degree 361, the official magazine of NIT Rourkela was launched by the dignitaries present over there along with the D361 team. Anubhav Sharma, Convenor, NU presented his talk about the vision and technicalities of the fest. Following this, NITRUTSAV was declared officially open by Director-in-charge Dr. Sukhdev Meher.
The 3-day extravaganza comprised of many events spread over a span of three days at different venues. Some of the events were organised by the NU organising team while the rest were put on by the various clubs of the institute. For the sake of providing the readers with an overview of the fest and subsequently the events in a brief concise manner, the events along with their details have been arranged in a tabular format (with some circus magic of course).
Fashionista and FBB Campus Princess:
While Fashionista and FBB Campus Princess were planned to be conducted as two separate events, due to overlapping schedules and lack of participation in FBB Campus Princess, both the events were merged. The event was conducted in Dilip Tirkey Stadium on February 1 at around 7:30 PM. The event had the biggest attraction of the fest, with Nehal Chudasma (Miss India Universe 2019) as the Judge and Guest of the Event accompanied by Bennett Nathan, the representative from FBB Campus Princess Team.
The event was hosted by Smruti Sudha Biswal, John Jimmy, Aishworya Roy and Rudransh Sharma. Fashionista started with an introductory video describing the journey of the beauty pageant Nehal Chudasma and was followed by a glamorous ramp walk by the Diva. In total, 7 teams participated in Fashionista from colleges like NIFT and ITER and the team from ITER, “Envogue” turned out to be the winner who presented their performance on the theme “Devas and Asuras”. The ground witnessed a satisfactory turnout and seemed to be one of the successful events of the fest.
“Celebrating the glorious 10 years of Heartbeats”, the official fusion band of NITR organized the fifth edition of Maktub successfully. A melodious night dedicated to the loved ones cherishing love, togetherness and compassion, Maktub was a great start to the three-day long cultural fest. Although the event was initially scheduled at 8:00 PM, it started with a delay of an hour. From the magical tunes of Arijit Singh to the sensational Bruno Mars and A. R. Rahman, the night was spectacular. The entire LA Lawns was filled with smiling faces and the approximate turnout was more than 500.
A dance competition organised by the NU team, Footloose is a crowd favourite and a public pleaser. BBA was packed from 11 am on 2nd February for the program which was supposed to start at 11:30 AM but got delayed and eventually got on with at 1:30 PM. This delay, despite being uncomfortable did not dampen the cheery crowd who supported the participants.
The event was initially supposed to be a competition across three categories: Solo, Duet and Group; however, due to the absence of duet participants, the section was scratched off. There was one solo performer, Biswajeet Das from BJB college (who also obviously became the winner as the principles of math and logic dictate) and two groups, our very own Synergy and Mavericks. Though marred with some technical issues, the crowd enjoyed the group performances where Synergy came out as victors.
Palette, the annual exhibition of Chitrang was held in its third edition in Rajendra Mishra Hall during NITRUTSAV. The exhibition showcased various drawings and paintings made by the members of Chitraang and other individual entries. Right off the bat, there was an installation outside RM Hall declaring that art is for all. As one entered, one was welcomed by photos of the contributors strung together beautifully followed by an expansive space decorated with a mosaic on floor. Keeping up with the customary signature mandala and hand-painted feedback, Chitraang upped the interaction factor with a Back-to-School section where people could colour boxes in a colour-coded modern art template. The colourful winged photo booth was a major attraction this year. With an aim to democratize art from the traditional notion, Chitraang had put on multiple exhibits where the hoi polloi could take part, including interactive elements like a live studio with palette knife painting, watercolour painting, real-life painting and a few abstract arts including around 10 canvases made by the audience. Even though it was scheduled to open on the first day of NU, Palette was inaugurated at 4 PM on Saturday owing to issues with requirements despite the efforts of NU coordinators allotted. The exhibition had a footfall in excess of 500 as visitors thronged to visit an assortment of aesthetic artworks.
Nitrutsav attendees were in for a delight as Astro-NITR, the designated astronomy club of NITR hosted 'Stellar Night', as part of Nitrutsav 2019, at the rooftop of the department of chemical engineering and food processing. Celestron XLT- an automated telescope for viewing different celestial objects present in the night sky was made available by the Astro-NITR team. In addition to the above, a manual telescope had also been set up and was regularly demonstrated to the people so that even they can try their hand at trying to focus and view all by themselves. There was a Virtual Reality[VR] zone where people were shown videos related to the field of astronomy using two VR boxes. All in all More than three hundred and sixty-three  people showed up for the event. The oncoming participants were able to see Orion Nebula, Sirius, Betelgeuse, Christmas tree nebulae, Ghost of Jupiter, Sacs, Leo54, Caster, Arcturus. Late into the night, in the midst of darkness, at about 3 AM, Jupiter came above the horizon followed by Venus- the brightest object in the morning sky- a sight to behold!
Nukkad was a street play competition organised by Pantomime in front of the SAC. It had three participating teams: Pantomime, Ritvic and a team from ITER who took turns in getting their message across the audience of around 75 students in attendance. The performances explored various themes from the misuse of media to the different social lives that students lead to women empowerment and their roles in the society. All the three teams gave powerful performances with ITER claiming the first prize and Pantomime coming at second. The prize money given was 10k as opposed to the 20k advertised.
NU Journalist 6.0:
As a well-known event of the fest, NU Journalist was organized in the Library Lawns on 3 February. As the name suggests, the participants were supposed to solve a mystery by interrogating the suspects of a presented case. The entire plot was full of twists and turns, based on the theme of NU: ‘Circus’. The participants seemed quite satisfied with the theme and entire set up and applauded the efforts of the managing Club: Clarion (the official debating club of NITR). The event received a massive turnout of 190. Although the event ran very smoothly, the event coordinators of the club stated:
SAC office opened late from where we were supposed to collect our requirements. None of the volunteers from NU team turned up for the event, so we had to carry all the benches and chairs to the Library Lawns without any assistance.
Workshops and Guest Lectures
Indo-Pak 1947 Crisis Conference
Organised by the Cognizen club, this event was a simulation of the Indo-Pak Conference which entailed reimagination of the crisis that was ongoing prior to the partition. Though scheduled to begin at 9 AM in the TIIR Auditorium, the debate was pushed to 10:15 AM owing to managerial hitches. The background theme was the debate that took place between the Indian National Congress and All India Muslim League as to whether they would like to have partition or not. It included sessional debates presided over by Lord Mountbatten whose role was played by Mehul Anand as the moderator of the debate. Each and every participant assumed a role of a leader and the debate forwarded on basis of their enactment and arguments. Based on the teams' performance as the Maharajas of the Princely states, there was a verdict in the end as to whether have a single state or not. The turnout of 20-25 participants was divided into groups of 4 or 5 to form the princely states.
After the felicitous response to the Scribbled Stories workshop in NU'18, Omair Tarique and Viplove Seth were back to the campus this NU for another passionate session on writing their heart out. The event scheduled to begin at 10:30 AM in PG Mechanical Seminar Hall, began at 11:30 AM with an informal session of introduction and showcasing some of the best micro tales Scribbled Stories has published. With about 45 participants in attendance, they delivered a presentation detailing writing micro tales, musings and short stories. With the event ending at around 2 PM, the duo also encouraged the attendees to share their writings with Scribbled Stories with the bottom line of publishing the best works.
Akriti, the Art and Craft Club of NITR, hosted a workshop on techniques of water painting in the PG Seminar Hall at around 2:30 PM. National Award recipient, Shri Brundaban Maharana, gave a learning session on water painting while showcasing his own skills and techniques perfected over the years. He also discussed the amateur mistakes made by beginners and their correction. Apart from watercolour, he also gave tutorials on using poster colours and acrylic colours. Towards the end of the workshop, he showcased his masterpieces and elucidated on his working methods. He talked about further scopes and opportunities in the field of fine arts. With about 50 people in attendance, he went through the attendees’ works and appreciated the efforts.
Divine Torque Crew Dance Workshop
With the end of NU'19 drawing close, Synergy hosted a dance workshop from 4:30 PM in association with Divine Torque Crew at SAC Dance Room. The workshop was headed by the three members of the group, Aatish Mohapatra, Sumit Sahoo and Soumyajeet Balabantary. With about 13 to 14 people in attendance, the workshop focused on mainly breaking and hip hop dance styles. While Sumit Sahoo took a session on hip hop style's core basics and variations, Aatish Mohapatra, also this year's Footloose judge, took a session on top rock and breaking basics/variation. The event ended at around 7:30 PM.
The second night of NU was set for the Progressive Brothers tour stop at NIT Rourkela. The night for EDM fans started young at around 8:30 PM in DTS as the Progressive Brothers filled the already crowded arena with music. With the in trend genres of Big Room, Future Bass and others, the concert lasted for 2 hours and concluded at 10:30 PM.
Riddles - The Band
The final night of NU was definitely missing the gusto of a celebrity night; a part of NU which no NITRian can ever part with. To make up for the lack of that grandeur, the NU team came up with Riddles - The Band. Hailing from Kolkata, the group of five make music of experimental rock genre. After an initial two years of struggle, Riddles have performed at other colleges and now, aim to increase their reach. With their music echoing from SD Hall to KMS Hall, The Riddles have surely filled NITR with their passion.
All's well that ends well?
This year, we break tradition. Though Monday Morning brings you a post-fest analysis article the following week with the complete critique (as we will for this fest as well), it doesn't take a reporter to notice that this NITRUTSAV was in majority a dud. Though the cultural fest has a special place in the heart of every NITRian, we sadly cannot be blind to the empty streets, a less than half-filled BBA and various other complaints by participants and coordinators alike. To be very blunt, there was a lack of feel-good factor on the campus. The footfall was extremely low which hurts our pride as the host institute of the largest cultural fest in Odisha. Some of the problems, in brief, encountered this fest were:
While initially the website team was given the theme of Carnival, abrupt change of theme to Circus in midweek of December caused some delay in the launch of the website which was hosted in the first week of January. Some edits and features were added later.
The publicity of individual events was delayed which affected the turnouts of respective events. The posters of club events and fun events organized by NU Team were released too late. The details of most of the events have not been updated on the website yet.
While in every fest the academic area gets echoed with the announcements of various events, we failed to listen to any such announcements from the registration desk this time. This has definitely hampered the number of participants in numerous club and fun events.
The essential banner citing the details and the entire schedule of the cultural fest which gets put up in front of Ceramic department had no banner till Saturday morning. Although the bamboo framework was made on time, it took a really long time for the team to realise that they need to put up a banner as well.
Unfortunately, although there was physical demarcation for general students and VIPs/guests, in reality, no such VIP privilege existed because everyone with/without an I-Card was eventually allowed inside the space. The security was pretty strict initially but with the flow of the night, the influential people involved in the fest turned to be the Messiah in allowing access to their acquaintances.
Open Mic, an event organized by Clarion witnessed numerous peculiar obstacles. The NU team, at last moment, claimed themselves to be the organizer whereas both Clarion and NU team were collaborating to conduct the event. The event witnessed a huge turnout but the numbers could have been better if the organizers could have got 4 mikes (as per their demand) instead of one. Huge security issues were also cited where a few drunkards created nuisances but no proper action was taken at such a sensitive situation.
Many of the club events faced issues with the requirements, for example, Soumya Ranjan Swain, event coordinator of Snake and Ladder says:
The board of Snakes and Ladder was printed at 9:00 AM on the day of the event whereas we had informed about it much earlier. The volunteers from NU team did not help in procuring benches/ chairs. Due to all such obstacles we faced a delay of 2 hours affecting our event overally.
Dean nominated Convenor Swapnil Sahoo commented:
According to me the Proshows were quite good, inspite of a low budget we managed to organize the fest at greater magnitude. I personally took care that the decorations are artistic in nature and completely theme based. Although the clubs cooperated but the requirements of clubs were quite dynamic and they inform about such requirements at last moment which might be a cause of inconvenience. A huge thanks to Girish, Luv Krishna and Shambhavi for meeting all odds and arranging everything at crucial times.
He further added:
I am happy that we had a huge collaboration of Fashionista and FBB Campus Princess which is one of the plus points of the fest. I regret the interference of zoneism in the fest and due to such issues a lot of trouble has been faced. For instance, we printed the ID Cards as per the requirement but they were distributed disorganizedly impacted by zoneism and favouritism. Inspite of few technical glitches and rescheduling of celebrity night, I am satisfied with the way the fest turned out but there is always room for improvements.
Ranjeet, another of the Conveners although contested the latter claim, stating—
From Day 1, when we inducted the team, we considered past experiences and credentials of members before forming the teams. No region, religion or caste were discriminated against. Many of the 130-140 people initially inducted stopped working, we removed them after 2 to 3 warnings. Some people approached even after that and were realloted responsibilities. I wondered on what basis did Zonism happen, as said by Swapnil, whether it be before or during the fest. ID Cards were only given to people who had worked before, and were in the team. Not even the entries to DTS suffered from Zonism, no mentors or past team members were allowed any privilege due to personal contacts with the team. As was instructed by Prof Rohan Dhiman, only work was given the priority here.
Rohan Dhiman, VP, Literary Society commented:
I agree that the footfall has decreased but majorly because of the rescheduling of the Celebrity Night. The team did a wonderful job in decoration and sticking to the theme. According to me the Pro Shows were also quite amazing and satisfying. I acknowledge few inconveniences in conducting club events but numerous clubs came up with additional requirements at the eleventh hour. So, overall, the fest turned out to be great.
While talking to few participants from NIFT, Bhubaneswar, they shared:
We feel NU 18 was far better than NU19. We are happy with the accommodation and hospitality but unlike last year, the fest seems to be very empty. Again, cancellation of Celebrity Night is a huge disappointment for us.
Team Monday Morning congratulates the NITRUTSAV team for organising a successful fest.