As soon as the month of April sets in, the festive air seems to blaze up. Festivals are all that people have in their mind. And I mean festivals of all kinds. Well, when we talk about festivals, we are not only talking about Bihu or Baisakhi or even the Election fiesta. For a change, let’s talk about a media festival. The Mega Media Fest – VISTAS, organized annually by the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, Tezpur University was one of the most awaited events of April, 2011. The foundations of VISTAS had been laid by the batch of 2005. Ever since then, it has been growing bigger and better with every passing year. VISTAS 2010 was the first time the fest was made open for three institutions outside the university. This time however, VISTAS became another grand event with 19 institutions from all over the North East participating in it; Manipur University, Gauhati University, Rajiv Gandhi University, English and Foreign Languages University, Cotton College, St. Anthony’s College, Regional Government Film & Television Institute (Formerly Jyoti Chitrabon) Assam Institute for Mass Communication and Media Research, and Darrang College to name a few.
When we reached the university campus as participants, we saw that the Department of MCJ was already in action, welcoming the participating teams and the distinguished guests. Among the guests were expert media personalities Sevanti Ninan (columnist, The Hindu and Editor, The Hoot), Prof. Dilip Baruah (former Principal, Cotton College), Mr. Mayukh Hazarika (Head of Camera, NDTV Lifestyle), Mr. Rajeev Bhattacharya (The Bengal Post) and Mr. Tridiv Hazarika (Manager, Public Relations, OIL, Duliajan), who were also the five panelists for the next day’s Panel Discussion.
The topic of the Panel Discussion that started right after the inaugural ceremony on the morning of the 8th was Ethical Challenges to the Media in a Globalised World. All the five panelists who are expert media personalities gave their valuable insight and tips to the participating teams and other students of the university. The students had a very interesting interactive session with the panelists who taught them how they could deal with problems or questions of morality once they step into the media world as professionals.
The panel discussion was followed by the Ad designing competition- AD ANGLES where participants were given to design their own ads on the theme- earthquake preparedness and then, post lunch, followed Warfare, the debate competition, the topic of which was “Trial by Media derails justice”. Quite some interesting arguments were put forward both against and for the motion. It was a parliamentary form of debate and finally, the bill in the house was passed for the motion. Prizes were bagged by St. Anthony’s College, Tezpur University and Darrang College in the debate.
Right after the debate competition, was in stock an all exciting Quiz competition, conducted by well known quiz master Mr. Abhra Das. Though the quiz was originally meant only for the invited teams, the quizzing passion of the youngsters compelled the organizers as well as the quiz master to make the quiz open to all. Of the six teams making it to the finals, 4 teams were from the host university itself, the other two teams being our own team from Darrang College and Don Bosco School, Tezpur. The winners and the two runner-up teams all turned out to be the veteran quizzers of Tezpur University.
The first night was winded up by a fun filled informal gathering at the Dept of MCJ, after the quiz where all the students, faculty and the visiting teams sang and danced to Bihu tracks, filling the night air with yet more festive colors.
The Department and the University kicked back into action early the next morning. They started off with Logoriya, the logo designing competition. Here the participants were asked to give a name and create a logo for a FM Radio Station. Bright and colorful designs covered the floor of the room at the end of an hour. Participating in this competition was quite fun for me, as I and my partner managed to bag a prize for this as well.
Immediately after Logoriya followed Visual Voice, the visual story telling contest. A set of ten pictures was given to the participants and the participants were asked to arrange them in any way they liked and narrate a story out of those pictures. There were all sorts of stories cooking up among the participants, ranging from funny, goofy stories, to thrilling murder mysteries to sad family dramas.
After the official VISTAS lunch, everyone gathered at the auditorium for the screening of the documentaries made by the students of the department and for the prize distribution ceremony. Prize winning entries for other events like My Tunes (the jingle making contest) and Clap-stick (the mini-feature making contest) were also screened. The Regional Government Film & Television Institute won the title of the Best Team while the team from Rajiv Gandhi University was the runners up.
The two days of fun, competitions and excitement finally came to an end, rounded up by the most awaited cultural function OASIS. After the beautiful performances by some of the students of the host university, the star of the show Mr. Mayukh Hazarika stepped in to steal the show away. Mr. Hazarika, who had been in the campus for two whole days and been a part of almost every event, pulled on such a great show that the audience was not letting him step down from the stage, making requests after requests to sing their favorite songs. He performed popular Assamese numbers like “sokuwe jodi kotha koy”, “xurat mogon” and “moi ji baatere” that transported the auditorium to a totally different level of serenity. After his melodious 45 minutes on stage, the Department of MCJ presented another treat to the audience- an ethnic fashion show by the students. After a few more performances, the show was winded up by a sand art show by a group from Guwahati, thus bringing an end to the Mega Media Fest, 2011.
The Media Fest, which was on earlier occasions confined to being an intra-institutional affair, turned into a mega event since its previous version in the year 2010 when it decided to go inter-institutional. Being rare and one-of-a-kind an event, VISTAS looks quite promising in its endeavor to create opportunities for media students in the region to interact with each other and gain access to expert opinions and tips regarding their profession. It seemed like an intermingling of the diverse cultures of the seven sisters of the North East. Every visiting student went back home with useful experiences, victories, beautiful memories, new friends and if not anything else- a desire to come back again next year.
As I was heading home early the next morning, all I could think of was the sheer bliss that the past two days had brought me. Being a part of VISTAS, being a part of every event, meeting new people, learning new things, having a gala time with my friends, having great food and triumphing a little victory- all these memories would be more than enough to last me till VISTAS, 2012. As for VISTAS, 2011, it was like living a dream.
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