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|Dates||January, second week.|
Saarang (means 'Chital' or Spotted Deer in Sanskrit, a common sight on IIT Madras campus) is the annual social and cultural festival of IIT Madras. It is a five-day long event held usually in the second week of January every year and is attended by over 50,000 students from colleges all across South India. This five-day festival is the traditional meeting place for the young and those young at heart. Saarang is very popular among college students and Chennai locals alike because of the wide variety of cultural events (music and dance shows), celebrities and competitions it hosts. Saarang is characterized with the days jam-packed with events and competitions, and then the nights where, the best professional artistes from India and abroad enthrall the packed Open Air Theater at IIT Madras.
Saarang is an entirely non-profit organisation run by the students of IIT Madras.The organisational structure of Saarang comprises the Core group members (or Cores), and Co-ordinators. The Cores head the various departments of Sponsorship & PR, Finance, Publicity, Web-ops, Events, Design, Hospitality, Facilities and Requirements, Security and QMS (Quality Management System). They are assisted by the co-ordinators (around 250 in number) who are assigned more specific work.
In the early 1970s, a "cultural week" festival was held.
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. The event was renamed to 'Saarang' in 1996 to give it a more 'Indian' theme. The fest has gone on to become an integral part of the city culture of Chennai. Commercial sponsorships for the event increased significantly in the late 90s allowing the event to attract a much higher profile.
Lectures and demonstrations
Saarang has observed a wide range of personalities present lectures and conduct demonstrations during the event and as a part of Pre-Saarang activities. “Spotlight”, a concept in the previous editions of Saarang was a platform for famous and notable persons from various fields to address the audience and hold interactive sessions with them. Past speakers to have featured in Saarang include Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Kamal Hassan, Shriya Saran, Manu Joseph, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Mahesh Dattani, Leela Samson, Leander Paes, Kiran Bedi, Anita Rathnam, Ira Trivedi and R. Balakrishnan.
Competitive events are held throughout Saarang and registration begins in December through their website. There are events in every field of art, dance, music, apart from literary events and group events like Scavenger Hunt. There are also informal stalls set up every day for spectators to participate in many small events.
World Cultural Shows
The “World Culture Show” (WCS) at Saarang is a platform to showcase culture and talent from around the world and hosts artists from various countries across the world. There are have been many such performances at Saarang, in many kinds of music, like Irish folk, contemporary music, alternative rock, hip-hop and acoustic music. In the past, WCS associated with the Goethe-Institute/Max Mueller Bhavan, Alliance Française de Madras, the Embassy of Israel and the US Consulate, Chennai, among other international organisations in introducing their artistes into Chennai’s cultural scene.
The Rock Show is a crowd-puller every year because of the unique brand of music it brings to the audience every year. At, Saarang, musicians of international bands of rock, alternative rock, metal and fusion have performed.
- 2003: Brahma (Headlining)
- 2004: Motherjane (Headlining),
- 2005: Orange Street (Headlining) Moksha (in 2005),
- 2006: Led Zepplica (Headlining), Parikrama
- 2007: Merzhin (Headlining), Mynta, Junkyard Groove
- 2008: Firebrands, Prestorika (in 2008)
- 2009: Opeth (Headlining)
- 2010: Hammerfall (Headlining) and Hurricane Bells
- 2011: Pain Of Salvation (Headlining),
- 2012: Vildhjarta (Headlining)
- 2013: Anathema (Headlining), Bevar Sea, Heretic
- 2014: Architects (Headlining), Grimus
- 2015: Karnivool(Headlining) preceded by Paradigm Shift.
- 2016: The Red Jumpsuit apparatus
EDM Night is Saarang's fastest growing professional show and Chennai's largest annual EDM event. Having been initiated only in 2013 brands like Sunburn and VH1 Supersonic have featured as its organising partners. The line-up has featured some of India's most popular names in electronic dance music as well as a few international artistes.
- 2013 - Sunburn Campus with DJ (S)haan and Dualist Inquiry.
- 2014 - Sunburn Campus with Dualist Inquiry, Nucleya, Anish Sood and Lost Stories.
- 2015 - VH1 Supersonic Campus with Thermal Projekt, Progressive Brothers and Nucleya.
- 2016 - DJs from Mars as international headliners. Sicklead, Aceaxe and Candice Redding as supporting acts.
Every year Saarang starts with “Classical night” in the Open Air Theatre of IIT Madras. Reputed performers of Indian classical music and dance forms inaugurate Saarang at this professional show. M. Balamuralikrishna, Daksha Seth Dance Academy represented by Isha Sarvani, Mallika Sarabhai and troupe, Anil Srinivasan, Sikkil Gurucharan, Navin Iyer, Ganesh Kumaresh, S. Sowmya, B.S. Purushothaman, Sonal Mansingh, Aruna Sairam,Shobana have performed in the previous editions of Saarang.
Popular Night is hosted at the Open Air Theatre of IIT Madras. It features live performances by members of the Bollywood music industry. Popular Night has featured artistes like Devi Sri Prasad and Vishal& Shekhar (in the year 2012), Krishnakumar Kunnath, (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), Shaan (in 2004)., Salim-Sulaiman and Benny Dayal.
Saarang got ISO 9001:2008
Past associates and sponsors
Saarang has attracted sponsorship from various established corporations owing to the phenomenal participation of students coming from various parts of the country and abroad. Some of the companies that have been sponsoring various events of Saarang are Max, Vodafone Essar, Bharti Airtel, Nokia, SBI, Canara Bank, Derby, Wildcraft, Durex Jeans, Pepe Jeans, Aircel, INOX, McDonald’s, TATA Tion, isoft, Club Mahindra Holidays.
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