The stereotype that IITians do nothing more than skin their noses by dabbling in heavy, technical books, was probably eliminated years ago when students from all over the country began benchmarking Mood Indigo, IIT – Bombay’s annual festival, as the perfect platform to showcase their talent. And talent came across really well at the Mood Indigo performance held at the NCPA, which showcased the festival’s winning short plays and street plays.

The evening started quite well, with Rafi Sahab Ki Mayyat starring Snehil Gautam and Abhinav Yadhav. The story deals with the fictitious accounts from the last days of the legendary Qawali singer’s life, and his optimistic plans for a blow-out funeral. Witty dialogues and convincing performances ensured that this minimalist play didn’t look like a student performance from any angle.

The next part took place in the amphitheatre surrounding Godrej Dance Academy. Written and directed by Abhinav Yadhav, the first street play titled Jaago Jaago Jaago was upbeat, loud and extremely engaging. It dealt with the issue of the Indian youth’s lack of involvement or interest in India’s progress and the regression caused by a laid back attitude towards their priorities. Hum Kitne Hai by Gargi College, Delhi University followed this with an angry, sarcastic and clever street play that dealt with issues such as India’s population explosion, female infanticide and the importance of taking action. I sincerely believe that these plays need to be viewed by the public at large as their content is of great importance to changing the way people view general and political issues in our country.

The final, winning play was called Nali Ke Kutte starring Siddharth Kataria and Aniket Beheria and dealt with a unique friendship between an Indian and a Pakistani soldier, who form a unique friendship across the border that one is stationed to guard and the other – to invade. Well-written and beautifully depicted, it was populated with witty one-liners backed by a simplistic live soundtrack consisting of a drummer and flautist.

The evening in its entirety was enjoyable and extremely enlightening, though a special mention must go out to Snehil Gautam, the IITian who wrote and directed both of the winning short plays – Rafi Sahab Ki Mayyat and Nali Ke Kutte. Gautam is a good actor and director who will only get better with age but his gift for writing, I can predict right away, is rare.

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