|Dates||January, Last weekend near Republic Day|
Saarang is the annual social and cultural festival of IIT Madras. It is a five-day long event held towards the end of January every year and is attended by a footfall of over 50,000 students. Called Mardi Gras when it was started more than thirty six years ago, the fest has gone on to become an integral part of the city culture of Chennai. It was renamed Saarang in 1996.
History of Saarang 
IIT Madras has been hosting an annual cultural festival for the past thirty years. Saarang also has its roots in the ‘cultural week’ of the early 1970s. "Classes would happen as usual during the day, but students from city colleges would come and take part in different competitions every evening for a week. We’d have our dinner and then come and spend the whole evening in the OAT (Open Air Theatre). There was no prize money at all, but just winning something at IIT’s cultural week was a coveted honour.” says V.G. Idichandy,an alumnus and now professor in IITM.
The fest was formally started in 1974-75 as Mardi Gras, the focus of the festival being to promote interest in cultural and literary activities and to develop the organizational skills of the students.
Saarang takes place during four days near the weekend of Republic Day at IIT Madras. The event starts with a classical night, which is then followed by the Choreo night, the Light Music night and the rock concert.
Events and Workshops 
With more than fifty events, Saarang offers a variety of fare to choose from, both for the participants who are out to chill and those who come for serious competition, in almost any literary or cultural activity.
Lectures and Performances 
Saarang sees performances by many renowned artistes who come from around the world. It is also a platform where eminent personalities share their experiences or their take on a wide range of topics.
In order to cater to a wider palette and also to act as a filler in the 5pm to the 8pm slot the World music festival was started in the 2010 edition of Saarang. This was in association with the Goethe-Institute/Max Mueller Bhavan, Alliance Française de Madras, and the US Consulate, Chennai. A very successful curtain raiser for the professional shows,this saw performances by T. Raumschmiere from Germany, Ziskakan from France and Hurricane Bells from USA.
The 2011 edition of Saarang saw the World music festival evolve into the even more successful World Culture show. In collaboration with Alliance Française de Madras, Saarang 2011 saw In Vivo, a unique choreographic play by the French dance troupe S’poart, which has received rave reviews world over. In association with the Embassy of Israel, Saarang also saw a performance by Asaf Avidan & Mojos. It was very well received. Again in association with Alliance Française de Madras, Saarang was host to Laurent Decol, one of the best mime performers today. Saarang also played host to a hip-hop performance by Havikoro in association with the US Consulate and sponsored by Everonn Education Ltd. This group also judged Saarang's own $treet$(a dance competition). They also mentored a break dancing workshop as a part of Saarang.
Saarang sees a variety of competitions in a wide range of fields like drawing, painting,elocution, quizzes and many more. People come from across the country to showcase their talents
In conjunction with Logic Masters India, Saarang 2011 saw the Regional Sudoku Championship as part of the Indian Sudoku Championship. The national winner would in turn represent Indian at the World Sudoku Championship to be held in Hungary next year. Saarang organizes a street dance battle called $treet$ in which colleges from all over the country prove their mettle in both choreography and impromptu. In 2011 the event was judged by Havikoro, a Houston-based b-boying crew. DJ Kave provided the hip-hop beats to the competitors. Freestyle dance in Saarang is a dance popular dance competition. Similarly there is a classical dance competition in one of the many Indian Classical Dance Forms like Bharata Natyam, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Mohiniattam. One can compete solo or in a group. Cluedo is a mystery solving event at Saarang inspired by the popular board game that goes by the same name in which teams of two participate in the written prelims followed by the final round. Potpourri is a unique event at Saarang, a combination of Dumb Charades, Pictionary, Tinto (a modification of twenty questions) and other games which are subject to change every year. Teams of three participate every year in this enjoyable event.
In 2011, Saarang hosted a Model United Nations, in collaboration with the UN Information Center for India and Bhutan. The theme for the event was ‘Youth and Peacekeeping’. It saw over a hundred participants taking on roles as diplomats, the press and members of the executive committees of UN bodies. Participants aimed to develop solutions to world issues through a process of deliberation and consultation.
Antakshari is also held at Saarang.
Wolf is a game played at Saarang which is based on the game of Mafia (party game) with a variation of ‘Townspeople’ being played by ‘Villagers’ and ‘Mafias’ being played by ‘Wolves’. One player from each of the participating teams would be tested on the rules and objectives of the game and selected to participate in the event.
Treasure hunt (game) and Scavenger Hunt are also played in Saarang
Mr. & Ms. Saarang is an event unique to Saarang which based on the participant’s ability to entertain the crowd using his/her presence of mind and sense of humor. Participants are first required to answer a questionnaire after which a selected number would be called upon stage, and asked framed questions in front of a large audience. Popular VJs or RJs along with the audience judge the winner of the event.
Decibels is a Semi-Professional band competition related to Western Music and the winners get to open the stage for the Rock-Show. Tarang is a similar competition related to light Indian music.With legends like A.R. Rahman having performed in Mardi Gras, the earlier avatar of Saarang, Tarang and Decibels are one of the premier semi-professional band competitions in India which have catapulted bands like Udaan Slain , Pin Drop Violence and Mother Jane to impressive stature in the Indian Music Industry. Saarang 2011 received over 90 entries for the competition for which 21 were shortlisted for Decibel Finals.
Choreo Night is an inter-college dance competition with both theme and non-theme categories. The event was judged last year by John Britto (international choreographer and Artistic Director of the John Britto Dance Company), Raghu (choreographer/teacher/performer), and Shivani Thakkar (Los Angeles-based international choreographer and performer). Loyola College, Chennai Dream Team has been winning it for the last two years.This is held in the Open Air theatre and is waited for eagerly. All proceeds from this show cum competition go to charity.
Professional Shows 
Rock Show 
The Rock Show in itself has seen national and international artists of various genres of music like alternate rock, rock, metal and fusion. It has staged famous international bands like the tribute band Led Zepplica, (in 2006) French Celtic rock n roll group Merzhin and Swedish fusion and jazz rock band Mynta (in 2007), Singapore based heavy metal band Firebrands (in 2008) and Swedish heavy metal giants, Opeth (in 2009) for their first ever concert in India. Swedish heavy metal band Hammerfall and American indie rock band, Hurricane Bells performed (in 2010). The 2011 edition saw Pain Of Salvation, a Swedish progressive metal and rock band, performing to a packed Open Air Theatre.
Saarang has also hosted Indian rock and fusion bands like Motherjane (in 2004)], Orange Street and Moksha (in 2005), much celebrated alternate/funk/rock band Junkyard Groove (in 2007) and India’s biggest rock band Parikrama (in 2006 and 2013). Indian heavy metal bands like Brahma (in 2003), Pin Drop Violence (in 2004), Prestorika (in 2008) have also performed at Saarang, to the head banger’s delight.
Classical Night 
Every year Saarang kick starts with “Classical night” where eminent personalities play to packed audience in the Open Air Theatre of IIT Madras. Many talented artists like M. Balamuralikrishna,Daksha Seth Dance Academy represented by Isha Sarvani, Mallika Sarabhai and troupe, Anil Srinivasan, Sikkil Gurucharan, Navin Iyer,B.S. Purushothaman, Shobana have performed in the previous editions of Saarang.
Popular Night 
Popular Night, one of the professional shows at Saarang, is hosted every year at the Open Air Theatre of IIT Madras. It is one of the best attended events at Saarang, and usually witnesses an 8000 strong crowd at the Open Air Theatre. Popular Night at Saarang has live performances by well known singers from the Indian popular music industry. In recent years, Popular Night has featured artistes like Devi Sri Prasad and Vishal& Shekhar(in the year 2012), Krishnakumar Kunnath, (KK) (in the year 2011), the musical trio Shankar, Ehsaan & Loy(in 2010)    Sonu Nigam(in 2009), Lucky Ali and Karthik (in 2008), Sukhwinder Singh (in 2007) and Shaan (in 2004).
ISO 9001:2008 
Saarang, in a move to make address to the general complaints like a show starting late, poor remuneration for artists and inhospitable reception that plagues most of the nation-wide cultural events in India, started collecting feedback from the participants over the years and started addressing these concerns. Saarang got ISO 9001:2008 certified in the Saarang 2011 edition.
Past Associates and Sponsors 
Every year Saarang attracts sponsorship from various big corporations owing to huge participation from students coming over from various parts of the country and abroad. Some of the companies that have been sponsoring various events of Saarang are Vodafone Essar, Bharti Airtel, Nokia, SBI, Canara Bank, Derby, Wildcraft, Durex Jeans, Pepe Jeans, Aircel, INOX, McDonald’s, TATA Tion, isoft, Club Mahindra Holidays. The Public Relation i.e. the media sector of Saarang has witnessed association from several big names like The Hindu, Radio Mirchi, The Week, UTV Bindass, NDTV Hindu, Sulekha.com, 160by2, Amadeus global studios, miglebox.com. Saarang was also associated with Unwind Center, Alliance Française of Madras, US Consulate, Embassy of Israel. With a footfall of over 50000 across 4-days, association with Saarang is Reputable and distinctly visible in the plethora of variety of sponsors associating.
Saarang is a completely non-profit organisation managed entirely by the students of IIT Madras.
The organisational structure of Saarang comprises the Core group members(or Cores), Co-ordinators and volunteers. The Cores, 24 in total, lead the various departments of Finance, Publicity, Sponsorship, Events, Design, Hospitality, Facilities and Requirements, Security and QMS (Quality Management System). They are assisted by the co-ordinators(around 200 in number) who are assigned more specific roles. In most cases, the co-ordinators are further assisted by volunteers. While the core group is selected before the institute disperses for summer vacation i.e. around 10 months before Saarang commences, the co-ordinators are selected about 5 months before Saarang.
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