Performing Arts Festival

Performing Arts Festival

The Performing Arts Festival, abbreviated as PAF, is the biggest inter-hostel cultural competition in the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay located at Powai in Mumbai (India). The term PAF is used not only the festival itself, but also the individual cultural performances that constitute the festival.

Both Undergraduate and Graduate students at IIT Bombay participate enthusiastically in preparation and organization of the festival. Typically three or four hostels (out of 13) tie up by random draw for each PAF. Though technically a drama, each PAF is a combination of several cultural arts including dramatics, literature, music, fine arts, debating and dance. Since 1999 the PAF is held at the "Open Air Theater" (OAT) inside the Students' Activity Center (SAC), within the main campus of IIT Bombay. Typically all dialogues at PAF are delivered using voice overs and not by the actors themselves, mainly owing to the structure and the huge size of the OAT. This requires a great deal of co-ordination between the actors and the "voices".


The major work is the preparation of the sets, commonly known as "prod", abbr. for productions, among fellow students. "Prod" consists of making huge sets using bamboo and jute ropes and screens made out of newspaper layers stuck together. Structures strong enough to hold the weight of more than 2 to 3 people have been prepared over and over again, in PAF 2007 two storeyed prod was made with guys over it; to just give the dramatists a chance to perform on an elevated level.

Theme and Language

PAFs could be in Hindi or English. Serious themes are chosen for the story, from history, autobiographies, etc but the scripts are expected to be original.

ome recent PAFs

The PAF season usually lies during the last week of March and the first week of April each year, officially culminating all the extracurricular activities of IIT Bombay for that year. Some recent PAFs are:
*Year 2008
** Unicode|Arsh ( _hi. , lit., Throne) by hostels-1,7,8 and 13 on 18th March 2008 — third position.
** Unicode|U-Turn, by hostels- 4,9 and 10 on 21st March 2008 — runners up.
** Unicode|1984, by hostels- 5,6,12 and Tansa House on 25th March 2008 — the winning PAF.
** Unicode|The Show Goes On..., by hostels- 2,3 and 11 on 28th March 2008.

*Year 2007
** Unicode|Aashayein ( _hi. , lit., Hopes) by hostels-3,8,10 on 18th March 2007 - first runner up
** Unicode|Saare Jahaan Se Achha ( _hi. , lit., The Best in the World) by hostels- 1,5 ,11 and 13 on 21st March 2007 — the winning PAF.
** Unicode|Numb-D, by hostels- 2, 6 and 9 on 24th March 2007.
** Unicode|Good Morning, by hostels- 4, 7 and 12 on 27th March 2007.

*Year 2006 (all in Hindi)
**Unicode|Asrār ( _hi. असरार, lit., the secret), by hostels 2, 8 and 7 on 19th March.
**Unicode|Kharāshe"n" ( _hi. ख़राशें, lit, the scratches), by hostels 13, 6, 10 and Tansa House on 22nd March-first runnerup.
**Unicode|Camouflages, by hostels 3, 5 and 12 on 25th March — the first PAF ever to use the F-word and "'orgasm'".
**Unicode|Déja Vu (French, lit., already seen), by hostels 1, 4, 9 and 11 on 28th March — the winning PAF,and best till date.

*Year 2005 (all in Hindi)
**Unicode|Lāl Rekhā—Ek Marīchikā ( _hi. लाल रेखा—एक मरीचिका, lit., the red line—an illusion), by hostels 2, 7 and 11 on 20th March.
**Unicode|Satyoaham ( _hi. सत्योऽहम, lit., I am the truth), by hostels 9, 13 and Tansa House on 23rd March.
**Unicode|Bombay ( _hi. बॉम्बे), by hostels 1, 5 and 10 on 27th March— first runnerup and Best Prod winner.
**Unicode|Kastūrī ( _hi. कस्तूरी, lit., musk), by hostels 4, 8 and 12 on 30th March.
**Unicode|Dastak ( _hi. दस्तक, lit., knocking), by hostels 3 and 6 on 2nd April— the winning PAF.

*Year 2004
**Unicode|Far from Vietnam, by hostels 3, 9 and 12 on 29th March. (in English)
**Unicode|Asāfeer ( _hi. असाफ़ीर, lit., sparrow), by hostels 6, 8 and 11 on 1st April. (in Urdu-rich Hindi)
**Unicode|Agnihotra ( _hi. अग्निहोत्र, lit., the fire-sacrifice), by hostels 7, 10 and Tansa House on 26th March. (in Hindi)
**Unicode|Āhvān ( _hi. आह्वान, lit., invoking), by hostels 2 and 5 on 23rd March. (in Hindi)
**Unicode|Lākshāgrih ( _hi. लाक्षागृह, lit., the house made up of shellac), by hostels 4 and 13 on 4th April. (in Hindi) —the winning PAF.

*Year 2003
**Unicode|Le Peintre de Mort (French, lit., the painter of death), by hostels 2 and 3 on 22nd March. (in English)
**Unicode|Shānte Mrigayam ( _hi. शान्ते मृगयम्, lit., the peaceful deer), by hostels 5 and 6 on 7th April (in Hindi) —the winning PAF. Won all individual trophies except Best Choreo and Best Costume.
**Unicode|Child's Play, by hostels 4 and 11 on 25th March. (in English)
**Unicode|Omicidio (Italian, lit., the homicide), by hostels 9, 10 and Tansa on 28th March. (in English)
**Unicode|Anth ( _hi. अन्त, lit., the end), by hostels 7 and 8 on 10th April. (in Hindi)

*Year 2002
**Unicode|Avshesh ( _hi. अवशेष, lit., Residue), by hostels 8 & 9 (In Hindi) - the winning PAF.
**Unicode|La Isla dela Musica, La Isla del Amor (Spanish, lit., the island of music, the island of love), by hostels 2, 10 and Tansa on 4th April (In English) - first runnersup.
**Unicode|Aham Brahmasmi ( _hi. अहम् ब्रह्मास्मि, lit., I am Brahman), by hostels 4 & 5. (in Hindi)
**Unicode|Aahuti ( _hi. आहुति, lit. the sacrifice), by hostels 1, 3 and 11 on 21st March. (in Hindi)
**Unicode|14:12 ("a Biblical reference"), by hostels 6 & 7. (in English)

*Year 2001
**Thespian, by hostels 2 and 7 (In English) — the winning PAF.
**Unicode|Dansh ( _hi. दंश, lit., the snake-bite), by hostels 4 and 9. (In Hindi)
**Unicode|Asakth ( _hi. आसक्त, lit., the addiction), by hostels 8 and 10. (In Hindi)
**Unicode|Nimaad ( _hi. निमाड, popular for "maa reva", the river Narmada) by hostels 3 and 6. (In Hindi)
**Unicode|Pratyancha ( _hi. प्रत्यंचा, lit., the Bowstring), by hostels 5 & 11. (In Hindi)

*Year 2000
**Unicode|Rashtroday ( _hi. राष्ट्रोदय, lit., the rise of the nation) by hostels 2 and 9. (In Hindi)
**Unicode|Al-Qasas ( _hi. अल-क़सस, Urdu / Arabic: lit., The Story), by hostels 5 and 8 (In Hindi) — the winning PAF.
**Unicode|Sarhad ( _hi. सरहद, lit., border), by hostels 3 and 4. (In Hindi)

*Year 1999
**Unicode|Abhimanyu ( _hi. अभिमन्यु, see Abhimanyu of the Hindu mythology), by hostels 4 and 7 - The Winning PAF. (In Hindi)
**Unicode|Where There is a Will, by hostels 3, 10 and Tansa. (In English)
**Unicode|All for Love, by hostels 5, and 6. (In English)

*Year 1998
**The Dream Theater, by hostel 2 and 3 - The Winning PAF (In English)
**OR, by hostel 4 and 5 (In English)
**The Artist, by hostel 6 & 7 (In English)
**Unicode|Ek Adhura Kalpavriksha - Hostel 9 & 10

*Year 1997
**...In Love and War, by hostels 2 and 5 In English)
**Mrigtrishna , by hostels 7, 10 and Tansa (In English) - The Winning PAF


Most of the students of IIT Bombay consider PAF as the single most important extracurricular activity in this institute. The prize given for the best PAF and various best performances are highly coveted by all. On the dark side of it, there have been time and again accusation against PAF about the freshmen being forced to work for the prod work against their will. But they have always been disregarded by those who work for it to the extent of saying that, "Somehow, most freshies seem to enjoy the concept of forced labour, cruel torture, slavery and a little free food thoroughly." Another accusation made by some of the IIT-Bombay professors against PAF is that many students get so much involved in PAF that they bunk the normal classes during the PAF season.

All said and done - alumni,students and professors who have been actively involved with the festival believe that PAF is an integral part of IITB's campus culture. No other IIT has managed to sustain and excel at such form of theatre, which in itself is worthy of recognition. The beauty of the concept of PAF lies in the fact that it re-inforces in everybody working for it, the fundamental trait for which IIT's stand for - 'Building from scratch, Hand's on and to perfection !'. For some students, PAF is more about being an IITian than the Technology Degree for which they joined the institute in the first place !


*"Locomotivation" by Hostels 8 and 9 - (1992) was the first time PAFs took on their current avataar, that of large scale production, special effects et al. The script was inspired by Andrew Lloyd Weber's "Starlight Express" and had the main actors on roller skates, skating through the audience, while enacting a race of locomotives engines. Not surprisingly, it was the winning PAF that year and many old timers rated it the best in its times
*"Raga Saga" by Hostels 7 and 8 (1993) and "Harlequin Chevalerie" by Hostels 2 and 7 - (1994) introduced a new genre of PAFs, with many subsequent PAFs being based on a strong central evil character. The use of revolving prisms standing side by side, to change the backdrop almost instantly was used very effectively in "Harlequin Chevalerie"
*"Déja Vu" (2006), by Hostels 4, 9 and 11, which is the perhaps the best PAF in recent times focussed on the life of IIT"ians" and dealt with issues like entrance examination, academic competition, friendship, isolation, suicidal tendencies, and dilemma of those who never desired to pursue core engineering. The PAF won 7 out of the 9 awarded trophies in addition to the overall trophy. A movie sponsored by IIT is waiting to be released based on this PAF. The movie has been premiered in IIT-B and is ready for a nationwide release. Critics say that the movie may make it to Cannes (Times of India- April 17,2007 Pg 4)
*Perhaps the most (in)famous of the PAFs are "Kastūrī", an Hostel 4, 8, 12 production in 2005 and "Moonstone", an Hostel 6 - Hostel 9 production in 1991. The word fiasco is often replaced by Kastūrī and Moonstone in IIT Bombay's lingo after those famous performances.
*PAF was staged at IIT Bombay's Convocation Hall till the year 1999, at which point the venue was moved to the institute's "Open Air Theater" (OAT)
*"Sarhad" (2000) divided the venue into two halves using a curtain and enacted different stories in each. The two enactments however, used the exact same script. The plot was based on the conflict between India and Pakistan, and the similarity in the actions of politicians and religious fanatics in both countries. At the conclusion of the play, the dividing "wall" was brought down and the countries were symbolically united - only to be repartitioned immediately by communal riots instigated by the politicians and fundamentalists.
*"Al Qasas" (2000) won 9 out of 10 trophies awarded for PAF in 2000. The only trophy which it lost was for "Best Costume" won by a PAF based on Chanakya, for which a several actors shaved their heads in order to portray students of the era. Abhimanyu in 1999 and Al-Qasas in 2000 sparked a series of PAFs in Hindi.
*"Dastak" (2005) introduced the concept of street-plays, as a sub-drama inside a drama, to the Festival.

ee also

*Indian Institutes of Technology
*IIT Bombay

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