It is the stand-up comedy season! And even IIT-Madras has been bitten by the bug. IIT Madras’s annual cultural extravaganza, Saarang, hosted its first ever stand-up comedy show, prtnered by Evam’s Stand-up Tamasha franchise. It started with one-fourth of an auditorium but somehow ended up being jam-packed, where people’s sides ached with unrestrained, roll-on-the-floor laughter. With free entry for all, the relatively quiet Student Activities Centre saw an audience of all ages, including some very grey-haired patrons.
Soham Choksi, one of the organisers of Saarang, explained that it was a conscious move on their part to open up the cultural festival to different kinds of people and to different events. “Very often, you have music lovers coming in for the professional music shows and dance lovers for choreo night. But we wanted something where everyone can sit together and enjoy an event,” he said and added that they wanted to bring in more variety.
The free entry was an added bonus to pull in the crowd. The previous evening also saw free entry for a music show by one of India’s rock and fusion bands, Parikrama. “The students can’t afford to pay big bucks for entry into events such as these. We want to give them a good show that they can go for without digging a hole into their pockets,” explained Choksi. Keeping in line with that, entry into Saarang’s carnival cost only `10 per person, even with a chance to win a scooter.
“We will definitely try to make Saarang as inclusive as possible. Future stand-up shows will have free entry and we hope we get to make others shows a free-entry thing too,” said Choksi.
Well, the students rolling on the auditorium floor, laughing their guts out agree.