UTSAV – A Reason to Celebrate?

Clay modelling by MCODS Manipal at UTSAV 2015.

Every year, the Manipal University Cultural Coordination Committee hosts the Inter-Collegiate cultural festival ‘Utsav’. It is meant to showcase and acknowledge the best talent our university has to offer. This is what I used to believe in until I started to see the reality which goes on behind the curtain.

I am a student of MCODS-Manipal and it is the vantage point from where I speak. The article is solely my opinion and no staff/coördinator/student is involved in voicing these thoughts. Readers already judging my experience/competency to write on this subject need to know that I have been a part of 5 Utsav competitions, participated in 24 events and won in 15 ( 9 gold, 3 silver, 3 bronze); 5 alone this year.

Every year there is a wrong judgement about certain events. The audience knows it, the participants know it, the coordinators know it; but no one does anything to correct the wrong. There may be a complaint filed by the coördinator in question or even a heated debate over the judgement, but nothing ever really changes. This year I saw the same conundrum repeat itself and just couldn’t keep quiet anymore. I am a mere student and therefore cannot file anything official which is why I use the medium of ManipalBlog.com to voice what I saw through my eyes.

This year MCODS Manipal mounted its most aggressive offense so far. The race to the top was the fiercest this year with 4 colleges fighting edge to edge until the last day. KMC Manipal was clearly the overall champion when the 4th day began and deservedly so, leaving 3 colleges to fight for the remaining 2 positions. This is when things got murky. The events which may have changed the tide in favour of my college and where I suspect foul play are as follows :

Day: 1, Event: 9, Slot: 6
Indian Non Classical Light Vocal Group

Singing a medley is always tougher than singing one song for 4 minutes. And if the medley is sung to perfection, it does hold an edge over the rest. That is what the team from MCODS Manipal did. A beautiful medley sung to perfection to wow the audience. But the judges seemed it fit to award the prize to other teams who had a crack in their voice while singing and even misplaced their sur and taal.

Day: 4, Event: 2
Clay Modelling

Clay modelling by MCODS Manipal at UTSAV 2015.
Clay modelling by MCODS Manipal at UTSAV 2015.

This is the entry put forth by the MCODS Manipal team, Slot 2. Everyone around agreed this was the best of the lot. The same team had represented the college in this event twice before and won some place or the other in the final standings. This year they came out with their best work yet. If any reader wishes to compare, please contact your college team for the photograph of their respective entry and compare it yourself with the one above.

The rules clearly state that participants are not allowed to explain their theme to the judges which is exactly what my team did. They moved away and let the judges decide, did not utter a single word and neither did they explain their theme on the model, something they’ve been doing so for 3 years.

The rules haven’t changed since the earlier years and writing on clay is not a disqualifying feature. Why did it have to happen that very day when my college needed these points and were clearly the winners in this event? Were the judges so blind not to see what was right there in front of their eyes ?

(Editors Note: Portion of this text has been modified after consultation with the author and new facts that have come to light since the article was put up. The author apologizes for any words that may have disrespected or hurt the sentiments of any individual named in the article.)

Day: 4, Event: 5
Mad Ads

None of the teams which wowed the audience won. As far as my college goes, we have been disqualified year after year for a vulgar script. This year it was changed and a very strong performance, worthy of being in the top 3 was put up. However, this was one event which saw even the other top acting teams sidelined. The judging criteria? Perhaps for them the event was Sad-ads.

Day: 4, Event: 7
Fashion Show

MCODS Manipal at the UTSAV 2015 Fashion show on4th day

This was the boiling point. Three of the top 4 colleges needed to win the event in order to finish on the podium. The above picture is a snapshot from the finale of MCODS Manipal team, Slot no.4.

A wow performance: This is the reaction which this team received after they performed. No one in the entire audience (and I don’t mean just my college) could have dreamt to see this team not placed in the top 3 at all. But this is what happened. Readers are requested to once again contact their respective teams for photographs/videos of their performance and compare it with the one by this team.

Foulplay?: Without a shout of a doubt, the team from MCODS Manipal had the best dresses and had done justice to their theme. Not only our college, but others as well acknowledged this fact and it was a shock to everyone when we weren’t awarded any position. Points from this event would have meant that we stood on the podium in the final 3, but that is not what happened. The team which stood first (Slot 9, KMC Mangalore) had a disqualification. A model had dropped his hat onto the stage which is subject to disqualification, but was not done so. Moreover, Charlie Hebdo is a magazine which has desecrated an entire religion time and again but were glorified on stage and accepted by the judges, just like the walk of peace in Paris which in itself was a media stunt. Furthermore, why were the judges constantly approached after certain teams performed? Aren’t they supposed to be let alone to judge?

The performance from Slot no. 4, MCODS Manipal was award worthy that night. Blame it on the incompetency of the judges or a foul play which happened afterwards, but something went wrong that night.

Readers are welcome to support or critique this article. I had no other medium to voice my opinion other than this blog. If anyone would like to correct me or say anything against, please do so in a civil manner; I believe we have all grown past the choice expletives we used when we were adolescents in school. I am open to a mature and healthy discussion on the topic. I understand Utsav 2015 is history now, but someone needed to take the axe and speak up. It just happens to be me.

Editors Note: The author wishes to sincerely apologise to any person named or unnamed in the article who has been hurt by it. New facts have been put forth and Mudit wishes to state that this UTSAV was by far the best organised and with the least amount of discrepancies ever.

About the Author: Mudit Krishna Yadav is an intern at MCODS, Manipal. He has participated in almost all the UTSAV competitions since he joined Manipal University and has won many prizes in them.

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  • kritilaxmi jha

    I’ve been a part of utsav since my first year, this has happened with some college or the other every single year since then. Infact, it has happened so many times with my own college. last year we were first runners up because we didn’t place at all in fashion show. Woah…what an unexpected blow that was,the crowd went crazy while our team was on stage…still no luck. i guess in utsav colleges compete only for the second spot. it is unfair and really sad ,how true talent is not recognized and i’m not sure if results are altered or manipulated but if they are it’s a shame.

  • Nadia Narayanan

    I am a first year student from school of communication!
    I strongly felt the results were unfair. I don’t wish to pin point any particular college or event.
    But just wished that if they expect student to practice for months take so much effort and perform they should atleast make the judgement fair.
    It was one of the best 4 minutes of my life to perform on that great platform, but it really hurt me that before even we got onto stage the results were pre decided!!
    But overall Utsav was a beautiful learning experience 🙂

  • waterkid

    lemme break it down to you.
    classical vocals- a participant from kmc mangalore who received a standing ovation from the crowd after his solo,the only one to receive such an honour may i add,didn’t get any position initially, was awarded one only because there were disqualifications… so he ended up third.
    fashion show- about the hat, if you’re so interested why didn’t you say something about it then instead of writing scathing remarks about the jury’s capabilities now? you dear sir did have the right to object at that time is it not?
    the moral of the story is-
    things aren’t always fair. instead of cribbing, just learn to have fun, and try harder this time. Good luck

    • Mudit Krishna Yadav

      Dear KMC Mangalore supporter. Thankyou for your comment. You have clealry enlisted your own flaws in your argument here.
      i) The classical vocal solo participant you mentioned didn’t receive any award ‘initially’ but was later awarded. How did this happen. Wasn’t a judgement final and binding ? Who was it who did it and why did he/she say so ? Why didn’t that person accept the judgement once it was given ?

      ii) The hat was pointed out by not only us, but a few other teams as well. As a student, I did not have any right to object. The matter was forwarded to the coordinator. You seem too keen on morals here’s one question for you: When you yourself knew about your shortcoming, why didn’t you own up to it ? Why did you not accept your fault and not accept the award on MORAL grounds ?
      Furthermore is it safe to assume that your fashion show team was ‘initially’ not placed but was placed later on ? When you accepted an award in classical vocals because others got disqualified, Why don’t you disqualify yourself in Fashion Show and let other deserving teams win ?

      Moral of the story:
      You don’t stick to your own morals.

  • anonymous

    While i’m not in any position to comment on whether MCODS Manipal deserved to win the events mentioned above, I completely agree with the author. Year after year we see the same thing, the best participants rarely win. One thing that i would like to add to this is the quality of certain events. Quizzes conducted in UTSAV are worse than those conducted in primary schools and all that a team needs to win the quiz is a favourable seating position on stage.
    Although Potpourri is a literary event, the only thing literary in the first round are the anagrams. This year participants had to name 20 Amitabh Bachchan movies before 2000 for a place in the final!!
    Several appeals made by students to the CCC are just ignored by saying “We’ll look into it”. If MU is actually serious about showcasing and honing talent then they should provide us with a better platform and a level playing field.
    Also, its extremely extremely sad to see that MU refuses to support students who represent the college on a national level and win at that stage (cultural events only). No attendance or monetary support is given to such students and more often than nought their activities are dismissed by senior members of the administration as a waste of time.

    • Mudit Krishna Yadav

      I hope the University takes note.

  • Anonymous

    I definitely agree with u! It was completely unfair at many points. I haven’t seen all the events.

    And it is not only about MCODS, many other colleges deserved but didn’t win anything in respective events.

    This is a foul play there for sure. I can bet there is something going on behind.

    • Mudit Krishna Yadav

      Thankyou for the support

  • Meh

    The judges are teachers that don’t care about ‘talent’
    How can someone not trained in music be allowed to judge you for your sur and taal?

    • Mudit Krishna Yadav

      Perhaps there is a derth of genuine judges in the Manipal-Udupi area. I hope the University takes note and we see better judging next year.

    • Priya

      True….

  • Anonymous

    If you are willing to shame the event organizers by accusing them of “Foul Play” simply because you think you’re smarter than them (and the judges too,mind you) and you think you know what they deserve,be ready to reject all the prizes that you dont deserve too. ( I saw all the events,and I will tell you the number of events where you placed and you didnt deserve it were more)
    Honestly,grow up and stop being such a petty little hypocrite.

    • Icedtea

      Agreed, He should just tear his certificates because that will do so much good*dripping sarcasm*. Critique is every ones by right, also certain seniority and a position in administration doesn’t make anybody smarter by default . He may as well be smarter. Also considering that the article might have some solid basis for what happens back-stage isnt a bad idea either. Try it.

    • Mudit Krishna Yadav

      Dear Anonymous, No where in my argument have I stated that I am smarter than the judges. You are entitled to your opinions. If you, in your wise intellect, believe that my college didn’t deserve any prize, please speak up. As far as growing up is concerned, I believe I am of a mature enough age to hold a valid argument with another mature individual. If name calling is your forte ( as portrayed in your last line) then I am afraid we cannot hold a conversation.

  • kd

    I agree with the argument above.. Especially in fashion show mcods was one of the best teams which deserved a podium win if not at least thefirst position… My judgement is unbiased as I’m an employee of manipal group and not affiliated to the university in any way.

    • Mudit Krishna Yadav

      Thankyou for your support Sir/Mam.

  • anonymous

    I must say, I have been a student of this college for half a decade now and in my time here, not once have I seen the college fight for or support its students (financially, morally or of any kind) for any event, even those where we represent our institution to bring it pride. This Utsav was one such event, where the administration had the chance to say or do something where we could not.
    To bring justice to our college and ensure our talents and hardwork don’t go to waste.
    Rather, I have seen this college take from us and comprise it’s students and ethical values for its own benefit.
    Those who wish to support us and take part are discouraged while the others don’t care.
    It’s Disheartening, that an institution this great is being run by such people into the ground.
    Let me remind the institution that it is the students who are the life blood of this college or any college, and that they are responsible for turning the child into an all rounder, not just a mediocre dentist.
    Invest in your students, not in your self and watch to which heights we can take this college.
    I strongly suggest that this attitude changes and that talents are nurtured rather than forsaken. Till then, I’d advise students to keep away from events of any kind, for their own self respect. This college doesn’t deserve you if it’s not ready to back you.

  • anonymous

    I must say, I have been a student of this college for five long years. In half a decade I have never seen students recieve any support what so ever for any event and of any kind. Those who wish to support are discouraged and the rest don’t care to do so.
    I have seen them not giving (which is okay) and have also seen them take from us.
    I’m afraid that this institution now has decided to no longer support it’s students (it’s life blood) and has decided to rather serve its self at it’s pleasure at the cost of it’s students.
    Sad to see that there is no support (moral or financial or that of any kind) given to students who wish to represent their college and win.
    I sincerely hope this changes in the near future , till then I encourage my fellow students to stay out is such events. The college does not deserve you.

    • Mudit Krishna Yadav

      Dear Anonymous, our college is not all that bad. Friction does arise but we had a healthy support for Utsav this year from the college authorities and I would not like to take anything away from them. The views in this article are solely my personal opinion. There will be people who agree with it and there will be those who don’t. Your comment is respected.If a few authoritative figures fail to perform, it doesn’t mean we blame the ‘college’ for it. Let’s respect the institution which has made us professionals from amateurs.