AIDS ’13: Expert Review

The Annual InSync Dance show was held in the Convocation hall on Monday, the 21st of January. InsIghT requested Talvinder Singh, one of the most well-known alumni of InSync to review Enchanted: AIDS ’13

Talvinder Singh

Risk charmer: AIDS has come a long way since its launch in 2006. The dancers have evolved, choreography has matured, themes have improved and so has the execution. But one thing that has grown disproportionately is the risk appetite. After Octane (AIDS’08, the only AIDS which lasted for 2 days and had teams from all over India), AIDS’13 is the second big leap in terms of bold risks taken. And they paid off and how!

Pre-Event Publicity: At In Sync, there are 3 KPIs that we use each year to evaluate the marketing.

  • Glass Door ≠ Intact?
  • Len(queue)?
  • Time t for n = 0 to n = ∞

Glass door has changed so first KPI is obsolete. We had 400+ people waiting to enter by 7pm itself and it took hardly 6 minutes for convocation to burst out of seams. Pretty neat, eh! Professional quality videos interlaced with posters did their job pretty well. I haven’t seen convocation this full ever (Kapil Sibal effect at play?). Also, if AIDS was a SAAS venture, AIDS’13 had the lowest Cost of User Acquisition.

Aerial act, Professor’s performance, classical masterpiece, brilliant paradise and more. It’s commendable that Team Enchanted was able to pull off so many great performance in just 50 hours of practice that they got. Though, this lack of practice did affect the quality of few performances, but that can be ignored in the big picture.

Let’s dive deeper:

Opening Act: Ganapati Aarti [The one with light Ganesha]

Opening Act: Ganapati Aarti

As the curtains slid, the audience was greeted with ganesha chants and an 8 ft high Glowing Ganesha (made with LED strips). What a way to begin the show! This has to be, by far, the most energetic acts I have ever seen. The best welcome sequences till date at AIDS. The energy was palpable and the convo went berserk with the brilliantly choreographed & performed act. Great formations, good use of props, well synchronized, good costumes, perfect pick of tracks; check, check, check, check & a big check. Welcome sequences are very tricky as they set the tone for the night, and I must say, this was one of the best acts of the night!


Sensual [The one with leather jackets]
It’s a bold theme to carry and the performers did complete justice to it. Again, costumes and tracks were very well chosen. The act had an electric start with leather jacket clad ladies. Jazz-funk portion was very neat! The act slipped later with a little loose choreography in certain portions. Nevertheless, the act was bold and hence risky, but was pulled off really well.

Nataraja: [The one with pot dancer]
One word: Wow! Two words: Thank you! What do you get, when you combine a beautiful & gracious classical dancer with a pot? You get this act! And to top this, you have a well-executed jugalbandi between Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Odissi & Kuchipudi. It was not only a visual delight, it was one of the smartest concepts of the night. The backbone of this act was the track and I cannot overemphasize how brilliant the choice of track was. Classical performances are usually considered boring and have a niche appeal but this act proved everyone wrong, in their face!

Bewitched: Horror

Bewitched: [The one with dead people]
Again a risky act. Horror as a theme is extremely difficult to pull off. Though overall the act wasn’t as great as the others, it surely sent few chills down the spine at the start. The costumes & getup was top notch and the beginning piece with lady live-pyramid was very well done. The act couldn’t keep the momentum going after the first piece unfortunately. But it was really commendable that each performer was living his spooky role. Some of them were “in their character” even during the bow. Very creepy. Indeed.

Koshish: [The one with gifted humans]
Life is like a puzzle not pieced yet. Introspection. Inspiration. Tears. Jubilation. The audience went through all this emotions in 180 seconds, via this act by stone-deaf performers. Yep, each performer was stone-deaf, they couldn’t hear a single beat. Yet, they performed and how! No words can describe what happened at convo during this act. Audience was on their feet, in part to applaud the dancers and in part to rethink all of their indecisive moments when “ditch” took the better of them. It was a jolt to everyone’s will power and I am sure everyone in the audience now has a reference whenever something is bogging them down.

Sh*t Happens: [The which trolled the audience. Not really.]
A mix-bag performance. Bits were masterpieces and bits were sh*t. The AV (audio-visual) was well thought and the line production of the AV+act was very well done. Had some really good rib-ticklers and masala tracks. Perfect filmy entertainer. It could have been one of the best acts of the night, if only it had a better ending. It turned out to be an anti-climax and a pretty bad one at that.


Hip hop – Lifestyle [The one with smooth movers]
The act began with a wow AV. The most professional looking AV of the show. Fun Fact: Poor dancers were kicked out of various nook & corners of Hiranandani, during the shoot of this AV. Hiphop has come a long way at IIT and this act just upped the ante. All the usual suspects were there and it was an almost perfect act. Almost, since sync was missing in some major patches. Plus, the tracks weren’t anything to write home about. This act had the weakest tracks in the show. Samanth’s popping was a major highlight. You are national, dude! My only gripe will be hiphop acts are stagnating. The moves have become very repetitive and there is nothing anymore that stands out. The dancers are brilliant, no doubt but they are just not pushing the envelope. Take risks, go beyond.

Prof. Khanna performing to 'Ae meri Johra Jabee'

Yash Chopra: Lamhe [The one with the Professor of MEMS]
“Ae meri Zohra-jabeen” – as soon as Professor Khanna uttered these words, the audience erupted! It was extremely sporting of Prof Khanna to perform *bows with respect*. Very well planned and executed act, with loads of small gems strewn in the course. “Le gayi,, le gayi” routine stood out. It was very well choreographed and overall the production quality was very good.

Charmed: The couple dance [The one with red gowns and flowing tresses]
Yep. The audience indeed was charmed. Couple performance is always very risky in terms of synchronization and this act too had its fair share of troubles. The choreography was difficult & bold. Some holds were fairly risky. Yet, the execution was dazzling. Costumes, tracks, moves, everything was detailed well. One thing that went missing was, a highlighter routine/move. Something that will stay with audience’s memory.

Underdog crew [The one by the professionals]
Well, there is not much to comment here. The underdog crew is pretty renowned and own some really slick moves. But I guess, they came with a plan to kill their reputation. To say that the professional’s act was the worst act of the show, says a lot about the quality of the rest of the acts. Fun Fact: Each professional who has ever performed on convo stage viz. Deepak Singh, Rohan Rokade, Freak & Stylez Crew and so on, were catapulted to a different orbit post their performance. Hope this convo-luck rubs off the underdogs as well.


Paradise: Contemporary

Paradise: [The one that is THE one]
Too many things were too right for this act. Paradise will be by far one of the best acts ever from IITB, in league of some of the iconic PAFs of the past. A poignant and burning issue like “Abortion” & girl child is extremely difficult to portray. The choice of concept & track was pure genius and the execution left the audience gasping for encore. Very very few acts can hit all the right chords for everyone, and this act definitely strummed all the octaves. Let me point out the reasons why this act stood out:

  • Theme was super risky. Yep, risky with a cape
  • Aerial act (first ever in IIT) – Risky
  • Numerous memorable moments
  • Beautiful entry sequence of paradise
  • Wife beating scene – All dancers had such perfect expressions
  • Red womb scene – Extremely impactful. Sent shivers and Goosebumps
  • Aerial drop
  • Happy ending
  • So very well thought of costumes
  • Brilliant characterization & enactment
  • Choice of song
  • Above all, the concept

What a gift you gave us, Ajinkya! Heartfelt, Thanks! This deserves the national audience, if not international. Special mention to the girl. You performed flawlessly.

Breakup Party: [The one that is upar upar in the air]
It has become a ritual of sorts to end AIDS with a comedy act. Thankfully, the humor quotient has improved a lot over all these years. Extensively detailed storyline with some pretty funny dialogues, this one did give Enchanted the climax it deserved. The poker face “Upar Upar in the air” routine takes the cake along with the cherry. Jai, only you could have pulled this one off. And what an apt track to end the show.

Enchanted had too many moving levers and had a tough time crunch. Kudos to the organizing team for being bold for taking so many risks, delivering the promised, executing a tough AIDS and most importantly, keeping the momentum going. I will remember Enchanted for the top notch production value of the show. Each performance had great costumes, props, structure and video. Innovative backdrop and lovely invitation cards, deserve special mention. Extremely proud!

Now that I am part of the faceless audience, I tend to reflect back on my days on stage. Post JEE, we keep looking for small successes, small achievements that will give us our confidence back or that will keep us going. We all are inherently competitive, after all. In the long run, all the co-curricular activities will be majorly forgotten. They all will be fuzzy. But on a macro level, they would have given you a sense of self. The real identity that maketh you. Enchanted was the last AIDS for Ajinkya, Jai Ramchandani, Pranusha, Aravind Bandi, Devendra Baghel, Karan Kumbhare, Monika Meena, Aishwarya Babu, Samanth, Darpan Malhotra, Ashwini Meshram, Vaibhav Gupta, Rohit Ramteke and Ketki Saxena. I am sure, they have discovered the self and are ready to be part of the faceless audience to reciprocate. Big applause for each and every one!

*Also watch the IITBBC video:

*[Images Courtesy: The Institute Cultural Council]