With 40 events and a crowd estimate of 50,000, the 43rd edition of Saarang at IIT Madras is all set to rock this weekend
KNOWN primarily for academic excellence, IIT Madras changes colour during the month of January and hosts the city’s biggest college culturals—Saarang. Right from its Mardi Gras days in the 1970s, through its transition to Saarang in 1996, this festival has seen heavy-duty acts by singer Sonu Niigaam,Shankar Ehsaan Loy and English progressive rock band, Anathema. This year has 40 events scheduled, over 800 colleges participating and a crowd estimate of 50,000. So if you are a music buff, do make time for their headliners—Dualist Inquiry, Salim-Sulaiman and the rock band, Architect—from today till Sunday, at the IIT campus.
They are possibly the only Indian composers to have performed in front of a crowd of 90,000 during FIFA. Brothers Salim-Sulaiman also collaborated with Lady Gaga for the Bollywood remix of Born This Way and Judas, and are currently working on a Hollywood film, Sold, with director, Jeffrey D Brown. Talking about the FIFA experience, Sulaiman says, “FIFA was a very memorable experience. We composed a song called Africa a few weeks before FIFA. Somebody took the song to Coca-Cola, the official sponsor, and the FIFA team heard it and liked it. They invited us,” he shares.
“There is no music if you don’t make it with people. We are fortunate to have each other but from time to time we also collaborate with other artists,” says Salim, who has also been a part of the reality show, Indian Idol. Though preferring singing to composing, he adds, “Every musician and artist has his or her own voice. Every artist today has huge pressure in making it big and gaining quick success. However, it’s important to make a good song rather than a hit song.” The brothers often face creative differences that are resolved over a cuppa.
Sulaiman says, “Most times we sit down with a cup of tea. The conversations range from a wide variety of things. It could be something that we have forgotten to finish or something that we are starting. Tea time is normally when the entire studio sits out in the lobby so that’s pretty much the time that we catch up on things,” he concludes.
The duo will perform for the first time in IIT Chennai, on Sunday, from 7 pm onwards.
This British metalcore band was formed in 2004 and since then has come out with five albums. Consisting of lead vocalist Sam Carter, drummer Dan Searle and his twin brother, guitarist Tom Searle and Alex Dean on bass guitar, their last album was called Day Breaker. Here’s what you need to know about the band that is coming to India for the first time:
1. The band members are currently all vegans. They switched after watching several documentaries on factory farming.
2. The band does its bit for the environment—the song Black Blood is about the oil industry.
3. According to Carter, expect to see a real and honest portrayal of what it’s like to be in a band. “We had s**t shows in the past. At the same time we have had some good ones too. The band is really just a journey of us travelling to these incredible places and having a real honest opinion on it.”
The team has decided to have a Chennai connect this year and organise an event in Tamil. “It is more like a VJ hunt and a stand-up comedy show. Winners will be selected for VJ-ing on Sun Music (channel),” says Kiran, head of sponsorship and PR.
Food and drink
Introduced last year, the Saarang donut from Donut House will be on sale. Fruit Shop on Greams Road will also have special Saarang shakes. Besides Zaitoon, Milkyway, Pizza Republic and Spoonbill, new stall, La Salad, will get space. “It is a European kitchen that was started two months ago in Anna Nagar. They specialise in salads, like the name suggests, and they will be new this year,” says Kalyan.
Music by Abaji
Besides rock and lite music performances, there is also a concert by French musician Abaji, organised by Alliance Française, Madras. Abaji started playing the guitar at age 11, followed by other instruments like the clarinet, flute and bouzouki. He predominantly playsIndian and Oriental music and the Blues. Today at 3.30 pm.
Sword swallower, anyone?
World Fest will see artistes from different parts of the world performing. To charm the crowd this time the team has flown down Murray Molloy, a sword swallower. “We have had dance hip-hop crews from the UK previously. Under this category this year we have 10 performances, of which seven are music related, with one dance group from Germany and the sword swallower,” says Sai Tejo Kiran, head of sponsorship and PR.
For those who want to walk the ramp, read on. “We’ve had a fashion show, Panache, for the past three years. But this year, we’ve collaborated with Femina Miss India. The winners will enter the regional level of Femina’s fashion show,” says Samvita Kalyan, from the events department.
Benny Dayal unplugged
Playback singer Benny Dayal first came to prominence with his band, S5 and his first break in cinema was with the song, Pappu Can’t Dance Sala for Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. He has been performing at Saarang for the past four years and this year he promises an energy-packed concert. “I will be singing all my hits in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu because I know IIT has a huge Telugu crowd,” says the singer who has two songs releasing this month from the movie, Hasi Toh Phasi. Excited about his maiden concert abroad this year, Dayal adds, “Every year Saarang is a packed house and it is very special for me because I performed here while studying in Madras Christian College,” he says. On Sunday, from 7 pm. Tickets from Rs 400 onwards. Details: bookmyshow.com
— Mrinalini Sundar