The God is back! What to expect in PAF ’14

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“PAF God hota hai.” These 4 words would probably be a very clichéd start to this article seeing as today I talk about the teams formed in and what to expect from this year’s Performing Art’s Festival (PAF). PAF is easily the most unique and distinctive feature of IIT Bombay’s Cultural scene and is rarely replicated in any form in any college across India. So, if someone comes up to you and says those 4 golden words, just accept it!

pssst.. scroll down to get a sneak peek at what to expect from each PAF team this year!

Rules for Team Formation

On paper, the formation of PAF teams is a simple and streamlined process – devoid of any bickering and colourful name calling. Representatives from various hostels are called to decide the rules that shall be followed in this year’s PAF and these rules are hereby frozen. The process starts off by the sorting of teams into pools based on their current Cultural General Championship standings. The top 4 teams among the boy UG hostels occupy Pool A Thereafter, these pools are further subdivided and possible combinations allowed are frozen. The key factor in all decisions is that on paper (at least) all teams should be of equal caliber.

Pool A Hostel chooses one from B1 or B2, then can choose one from G2 or G1 respectively and any 1 hostel from Pool P

Pool A Hostel chooses one from B1 or B2, then can choose one from G2 or G1 respectively and any 1 hostel from Pool P

As per the current cultural championship, the 4 pools formed sprung a few surprises. First up, Hostel 2 and Hostel 4, the heavyweights in the cultural championship over the years, found themselves in Pool B. Building on their strong performance last year, Hostel 9 lead the pack in Pool A for the first time in many years, followed by Hostels 3, 5 and 7 rounding up Pool A. New Entrants to this year’s PAF is Hostel 15-C.1

January 23, 2014 – A Historic Date

Finally, the stories associated with these meetings become part of IITB-lore, legends to rival the PAFs themselves. You should know of that time when a certain someone locked over 25 people in a room for 4 hours just to get his/her way

2 hours 20 minutes! That was the duration of this year’s team formation meeting, which quite possibly was one of the shortest meetings known to Insti-kind. These team formation meetings are a (in)famous part of PAF’s legacy for three reasons. These meetings are historic in their length averaging about 6 hours (The longest such meeting, allegedly, went on for almost 9 hours). Then, you have people from the highest echelons of power in the gymkhana, respected members known for balance and decorum going at each other’s throats in their quest to make to get the team-mates they want. Finally, the stories associated with these meetings become part of IITB-lore, legends to rival the PAFs themselves. You should know of that time when a certain someone locked over 25 people in a room for 4 hours just to get his/her way. Though some would say that most teams are pretty much done before this meeting actually happens(and they are right in saying so), still this meet is essential in driving in that PAF passion into the teams. Although this meeting lasted a paltry duration with no such amazing feats to talk of, there was enough yelling, screaming and uhh.. “competitive namecalling” to make it worthy of its legacy.

Finalized teams (Tansa Hostel shall be allotted in the Order deciding meeting)

Finalized teams (Tansa Hostel shall be allotted in the Order deciding meeting)

After 2 hours of heated and sometimes logical discussions, all to strike that perfect balance between equally capable and equally compatible, the 31 representatives and the cultural council could finally agree on and freeze the 4 teams that would be responsible for this year’s festival.

We now look at what each PAF offers and some interesting facts associated with each team

Hostels 9,6,10 and 1

Seasoned PAF and dramatics veterans including Chaitanya Dhande (Hostel – 6), Poorna Chandra (6), Yashasvi Gawali (10), Deeksha Sinha (10), Kunal Verma (9) and more, shall provide the base and vision for what is expected to be a strong PAF performance.

Hostels 9 and 6 come together for the first time since their PAF – “Numb-D” in 2007 (Fact: Winner of PAF 2007 was “Saare Jahan Se Accha” by Hostels 1,5,11 and 13 – 3 PG hostels). Along with hostel 10, the strongest team in Pool G and Hostel 1, this arguably is the strongest team in this year’s PAF. Seasoned PAF and dramatics veterans including Chaitanya Dhande (Hostel – 6), Poorna Chandra (6), Yashasvi Gawali (10), Deeksha Sinha (10), Kunal Verma (9) and more, shall provide the base and vision for what is expected to be a strong PAF performance.

Hostel 9 brings excellence across multiple genres like dramatics, dance and music with a brilliant crop of young talent and experienced seniors like Pikai Sarkar, Ankit Yadav and more. Hostel 10 will be heavily relied upon for the visual brilliance or to use Insti lingo –“Machao in FA”, as they are the only hostel in this team with points in this year’s Photography and Fine Arts championship. Hostel 1 is expected to add to an already very talented group of musicians with Riju De, arguably the best singer in PAF 2013. The Prod team is expected to come up with amazing ideas as all 4 hostels were winners of the same trophy last year.

Expect a smartly written PAF designed to win.

Hostels 3, 2, 15c and 12

With Gaganjeet Singh (2), Badri Chavan (3) and Jigar Sura(12) and more, they have students who have performed and won on every prestigious stage available in dramatics

Hostels 2 and 3, capitalizing on the fact that hostel 2 was in Pool B, are together after 6 years. Their last PAF together was “The Show Goes On” back in 2008. Both hostels have experienced, PAF winning residents; these hostels account for 4 of the last 5 winning PAFs. Add to that Hostel 12, which has been a part of the winning PAF team in 3 of the last 4 years and the new entrants to PAF – Hostel 15C, one of the sought after hostels from the team formation meeting.

It is easy to see that the strongest attribute of this team is its excellence in writing and dramatics. With Gaganjeet Singh (2), Badri Chavan (3) and Jigar Sura(12) and more, they have students who have performed and won on every prestigious stage available in dramatics. Hostels 2 and 12 will be heavily relied upon in terms of music. Judging by their standings, Dance and Fine arts seem to be the weak points for this team but both hostel 2 and 3 are known to be highly innovative in their Prod work (remember Antbahaar).
This team can easily produce a comic PAF or an intense PAF or a social issue based PAF, all with brilliant expertise.

Only one thing is certain, we’re in for a surprise.

Hostel 5, 4, 11 and 13

Abhishek Yadav (5), Palash Kulkarni (5), Karunesh Jigyasu (4), Kanhaiya aka Kanu Bairwa (4), Rashmi Chaudhary (11), Vikas Pandey (13) and many more, forming a potent and formidable team of writers

Similar to Hostels 2 and 3, Hostels 4 and 5 capitalized on hostel 4 being in Pool B. They come together after more than a decade, their last PAF being “Aham Brahmasmi” back in 2002. Joining them is Hostel 11, who have largely abstained from this year’s Cultural Championship after a respectable performance in 2012-13. Hostel 13 rounds up this team, a hostel whose current position does not justify the talent that this hostel houses.

Writers galore in these 4 hostels, with Abhishek Yadav (5), Palash Kulkarni (5), Karunesh Jigyasu (4), Kanhaiya aka Kanu Bairwa (4), Rashmi Chaudhary (11), Vikas Pandey (13) and many more, forming a potent and formidable team of writers, though we hope they can decide their theme fast (judging by the number of visionary writers no easy task). Hostel 4 and 5 both would also seek to unite their very experienced and successful Prod teams. In terms of Dance and Music, these hostels bring together great strength in diversity. Fine arts appears to be weakness, with an average record up till this point in the standings.

Expect amazing elements, which if combine seamlessly can produce a winning PAF.

Hostels 7, 8, 10A, 14 and C2

Their record in dance justifies the respect they demand in that field with Tapassu Manke, Sonu Chatterjee, Ruturaj Apte and many more

A combination of teams that rounded up Pools A and B, this could be argued is a weaker team on paper than the others. But history is littered with examples of underdogs outperforming everyone else – team Antbahaar serves as a good example. Joined by Hostels 10A, which has showed promise in this year’s championship as well as hostel 14 + C2, again hostels that have abstained from the championship till now (Fact: Hostel 14 in its 3 years in PAF has never ended up on a winning team). The last time Hostels 7 and 8 combined, they came up with a very respectable PAF – “Prime Minister”, one that was touted as the best that year but alas didn’t win. (Side note: GS Cult – Deepak Sharma was lead actor in this PAF)
The strength of this team will be down to its capability of combining talent from all 5 hostels. Combining Hostel 7’s winning Film and media team with Hostel 8’s winning Dramatics team and talented writers like Shakti Sharma (14), you get a team talented in the field of writing. Hostel 7 is arguably the strongest hostel in Fine Arts, says Arpit Agarwal, current institute PFA Secy and a candidate for next year’s GS-Cult position. Their record in dance justifies the respect they demand in that field with Tapassu Manke, Sonu Chatterjee, Ruturaj Apte and many more. Add Hostel 10A with their fine performance in Gyrations 2013 and they make a formidable dance team. Music team as a combination of all 5 hostels will easily form a team capable of producing high quality music.

Expect something from this PAF, as it is a team with quite a mix of PAF veterans and talented PAF newcomers.

All 4 teams do look promising. One sad fact is the falling of Holi (well it’ll be sad for some at least) just before PAF number 3, so another interesting meeting to decide the order of the PAFs is in the offing. We will surely drop that here as and when decision is made.

Footnotes –
1. Note to the uninitiated:- Hostel 15 will not participate as one complete hostel. While Hostel 15 C-Wing (15C) consisting of freshmen UG and PG girls and handful of senior UG girls will contest as themselves, 15A and 15B which consists of UG freshmen boys will not contest. Their inhabitants will represent whatever hostels they are allocated by the HCU during the sophomore room allocation.