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IIT Madras Students to Celebrate 50 years of Saarang

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This edition of the Annual Cultural fest, known in its early years as ‘Mardi Gras’, is being celebrated from 10th to 14th January 2024 and is expected to attract a footfall of 80,000 people

 Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) students are celebrating 50 years of Saarang, the annual cultural festival of the Institute, from 10th to 14th January 2024.

Since its inception in 1974, the erstwhile ‘Mardi Gras’ is deeply rooted in South India’s culture and has become an integral part of Chennai’s cultural scene. To honour its Indian roots and celebrate the omnipresence of the spotted deer commonly found in the campus, Mardi Gras was rebranded as ‘Saarang’ in 1996.

Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, will mark the inauguration of this cultural festival with a violin performance today evening (10th Jan 2024) during the ‘Classical Night’ at Open Air Theatre.

The Event Schedule can be viewed using the following link – https://saarang.org/Schedule

With an expected footfall of 80,000, the festival is not just another college fest but a celebration of the niche interests of South India’s cultural scene. The festival prides itself on having something for everyone – be it the Adventure zone for the adrenaline junkies keen to enjoy the ‘carnival experience’ or a skateboard workshop for enthusiasts.

Highlighting the importance of this cultural festival, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said, “For the Golden Jubilee year of our celebration, although we have a wide spectrum of events, we are dedicating it to the rich culture and traditions of Tamil Nadu.”

Nearly 850 students are working together to make Saarang a grand success. In the past 50 years, Saarang has come a long way, transitioning from a small cultural fest to a large-scale international collaboration between artists, students and communities, transcending generations.

Speaking about Saarang 2024, Prof. Sathyanarayana N Gummadi, Dean (Students), IIT Madras, said, It is my great pleasure to invite the students, participants and IIT community to the 50th edition of our cultural festival. For the first time, we introduce the classical and folk night, wherein we will showcase both classical music and Tamil Nadu folk arts for this golden jubilee celebration. The recently-introduced ‘Saarang Village’ assures spectators of a dedicated area where the diverse facets of India’s rich and beautiful cultures come to life. The success of the 50th edition of Saarang is due to the hard work and efforts of more than 800 students and their mentors. I wish the entire team a great success.”

Noting the hard work put in by the students in organizing this huge festival, Prof. Prasad Patnaik B S V., Advisor (Cultural), IIT Madras, “Through the contests and competitions being organised, the spirit of creative thinking and innovation flourishes. The entire Saarang organising team has been putting higher order efforts to make the festival more exciting for the Gen-Z. Kudos to the team lead by our cultural secretaries Jyotir Aditya Menon and Valeti Sriraj.”

Saarang offers a unique platform for rising young artists and performers coming from a diverse array of art forms and interests such as freestyle dance, photography, acapella, graphic designing and stand-up comedy. The fest will feature events from the Institute’s many cultural clubs, ranging from oratory and comedy to fine arts and writing and the newest, the culinary arts club.

Sharing their experience working on this festival, Ms. Sharanya Kannan, Student Sponsorship and PR Core, Saarang – IIT Madras, said“Saarang fosters the creation of an environment where students craft their dreams into reality. Celebrating this haven of creativity, the theme of Saarang 2024 is ‘Utopia.’ Hoping to exceed expectations and cross the bounds of imagination, Saarang is set to have an explosive comeback with great entertainment and commemorate art and culture like no other – a true utopia!”

Mr. Abhinav P S., Student Sponsorship and PR Core, Saarang – IIT Madras, said, “Saarang is a symphony of diverse talents and is truly a mesmerizing experience. Behind this five-day wonder are countless hours of unwavering commitment and nothing would please the team more than for the audience to leave with a memory they’d cherish.”


A crowning jewel of the fest – the Professional Shows – boasts an impressive line-up of well-established and up-and-coming artists alike, whose performances are sure to have the crowd singing their hearts out.

To honour the month of Marghazhi, the Day 0 of Saarang on 10th January 2024 will start with Classical Night. Choreo Night on Day 1 promises to be filled with stunning performances as dance troupes rock the stage from around the country. EDM Night is opened by the sensational DJ Holy C and headlined by the widely acclaimed duo of Matisse and Sadko. Day 3 will end with the Rock Night, to be graced by RJD the Band and Thaikkudam Bridge. The last Proshow Night is the Pop Night, to be headlined by the multifaceted playback singer Farhan Akhtar.

Another event that promises to be a highlight is the ‘Spotlight Lecture Series.’ Saarang is all set to welcome a host of esteemed speakers with a wide-ranging reach across various cultural domains. This includes renowned celebrities like Mr. Nassar, Mr. Gautham Vasudev Menon, Ms. Rukmini Vijayakumar, Ms. Usha Uthup, and Mr. Manoj Bajpayee.


Conscious of responsibilities as students, Saarang also runs a social campaign under the banner of Saarang every year. Saarang has had campaigns on water conservation, mental health awareness, and health and hygiene awareness and this time around the campaign centred around energy conservation titled ‘Urjam’ is being launched. ‘Urjam’ aims to encourage people to make conscious decisions to make the switch to renewable energy sources. In this age where climate change is finally being given the due importance it deserves, Urjam highlights the grave need to explore and focus on clean energy sources. Awareness programs have been conducted in Chennai schools to drive home the message of the judicious use of fuel and electricity. With several collaborative workshops and panel discussions being conducted on energy conservation, ‘Urjam’ hopes to create a tangible impact in the lives of many.

With 850 young minds working together to make Saarang the kind of magnificent phenomenon it is, Saarang’s 50th year strives to make a mark that would not be forgotten.


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