So you thought it was all about academics? Wrong! IITB is privileged to have one of the best cultural (or 'cult') scenes among engineering colleges in India. Apart from hosting Mood Indigo, India's biggest college cultural festival, we have a very active intra-college scene, with genre specific clubs and plenty of hostel and insti-level events all year round. The scene is basically split into 7 genres: Music, Photography & Fine Arts, Speaking/Debating, Literary Arts, Photography & Fine Arts, Dance, Dramatics, and Film & Media.
At the Institute level, the scene is governed by the Institute Cultural Council, headed by the General Secretary of Cultural Affairs. Working with him are 7 Institute Secretaries, for the aforementioned 7 genres. Each secretary is the head of the club(s) under his/her domain.
Also, at the hostel level, each hostel has a Cultural Councilor along with a secretary for each of the genres.
The most important cultural event of your first semester here is Freshizza, the inter-hostel freshmen cultural competition. Usually held on the first weekend after the midsems, Freshizza is where you battle it out for hostel glory in a host of events from all areas of the cult sphere. Do participate, if you can, or else at least come and cheer your hostel on.
@Localites: Stay back that weekend, we guarantee you won't regret it.
Intra College events
Inter-hostel General Championship (GC) events that are held throughout the year decide your hostel's position in the Cultural GC. Even though freshies are not allowed to represent their hostel, to compensate, the cultural council organizes a huge number of open events spread across the year. These events have no restrictions; some, on the contrary, have freshmen reservations.
Now, coming to the Cultural clubs.
Literary Arts: Literati
Quizzes, Creative writing, Rebuses, Blogs and Word Games all fall under the reign of Literati. GC Event: General quiz.
Dramatics: Fourth Wall
Comedy plays, street plays and mono-acting are the strengths of the club. The spotlight is grabbed by the Annual Theatre Festival and Sophie Production. GC event: Dramatics Main Championship
Music: Staccato and Saaz
The clubs for western and Indian music respectively. They conduct large scale musical events and workshops. Watch out for Saaz's Surbahar and Swar Sandhya, and Staccato's Acoustic Dusk and Unplugged. GC event: Goonj
Film and Media: Silverscreen
Still in its third year of operation, Silverscreen has already scaled great heights with the introduction of the IIT Bombay Film Festival, showcasing student-made films along with celebrated international movies. GC Event: Film Making
Dance: In Sync
Classical, hip-hop, folk or contemporary, In Sync has it all. The Annual Insync Dance Show (AIDS) held in January is a must watch. GC Event: Gyrations
Debating: We-Speak and Vaani
Speak your mind! Panel debates, JAMs, extempore, radioplays... you name it. Host to the IIT Bombay National Debate. GC Event: Institute Speaking League
Photography and Fine Arts - Rang and Pixels
Rang is the Fine Arts Club and Pixels, the photography club conduct competitions and workshops for everything from sponge modelling to comic strip writing to Adobe Photoshop. They showcase the institute talent in the the annual exhibition Kaladarshan. GC Event: Colore di Vita.
So, now you have a vague idea about the different clubs and the different genres. Too much information? No worries, there will be an orientation (with a fundae session) for each club separately too. Just make it a habit to have a look at the notice-boards daily. For details visit the Cult Homepage.
Inter college events
Every December, IITB hosts India's biggest cult fest, Mood Indigo. MI is a 4 day long cultural extravaganza that sees participation by thousands of students from all over the country. Apart from formal and informal competitions and workshops, it also organizes concerts and performances by international artistes.
IITB students attend numerous college cult fests but we only send official contingents to two, St. Xavier's Malhar (around 15th Aug) in Mumbai and IIM-A's Chaos (around 29th Jan). Freshies generally attend Chaos in large numbers.
Performing Arts Festival (PAF)
PAF is also known as the 'Baap of all cultural events'. Typically three or four hostels (out of fourteen) are grouped together to battle against one another. From script to dance, music to dram, every damn thing is handled by the students. PAF is renowned for its 'Prod work' which involves the making of sets and backdrops. A tremendous mixture of art and cultural skills combined with life sized sets, is what makes PAF an event to remember.
By that time, you will be allotted your 'permanent' hostels and hence will be a good time to make new friends and get acquainted with the hostel culture.
At the end of the academic year, the institute hands out awards to those who have excelled in cultural activities, along with the inter-hostel GC and PAF trophies.
So there you have it. Cult at IITB is truly in a league of its own, so please do grab every opportunity to be a part of it. And remember, never be hesitant to join a club or attend a meeting just because you feel you're not good enough - most of us knew nothing about our current cult interests/passions when we first started out, back in our first years. The institute clubs welcome students of all levels, from noobs to pros.
A mandatory word of caution though: do not sacrifice your academics for the sake of extra-curricular activities; prioritize your interests and allocate your time wisely. That being said, we do hope you enjoy every bit of your 4/5 years here, and hopefully the cultural scene would be a major part of your college lives.
[Credits to Ayush Baheti and Siddharth Shanbhag, Anasuya Mandal and Antariksh Bothale]