Student Activities

FLAME University’s flagship event, the Discover India Program (DIP) 2015-16 was held on March 18th and 19th, 2016. Under the aegis of DIP, FLAME’s undergraduate students travel to different destinations around India exploring the rich traditions and socio-cultural heritage of our country. Students involve in intensive fieldwork, interview practitioners and people involved in the arts, crafts and cultural activities, and collect data and audio-visual information regarding their topic in focus. Following a systematic course work comprising of methods/techniques and teaching-learning process necessary for research and documentation, ways of analyzing and interpreting primary and secondary data and articulating their learning in a creative manner, the students make a Report, an Exhibit and a Presentation.

After many months of engagement with tools and techniques necessary to undertake such a study – researching the topic from secondary sources, and armed with some added skills gained through recently initiated methods and techniques of observation and analysis – collecting data in field and analyzing that data once back, these students put together their learning’s in their reports, exhibition and presentations to compete for the trophy. The Trophy – chance to travel beyond Indian borders to study another culture in another country.

In 2015-16 ten groups of students traveled to destinations around India, exploring different traditions, local arts, crafts and heritage. Our DIP 2015-16 groups studied: The Kalbelias of Rajasthan, The Kuttiyattam dance performance of Kerala, The Siddi Tribe of Gujarat, The Bauls of Bengal, Theyyam ritualistic performance of Kerala, Ratha making tradition of Karnataka, Boat making tradition of Mandvi in Gujarat, The Shani Shingnapur shrine of Maharashtra, Phulkari embroidery of Punjab and The Qawwali of Nizzamudin Aulia in Delhi.

After meeting people, interacting with practitioners and experts and bringing together their experiences, as is usual practice, they submitted their Group Reports, which were assessed by an internal jury comprising of the DIP Committee Members. Their Group Exhibits and Group Presentations were assessed by an invited three member external jury as per predefined criteria. This year our external Jury was Prof. Archana Shastri, Mr. Makarand Sathe and Dr. Skye Morrison, who had a tough time assessing the fabulous presentations and exhibits put together by our students.

A proud moment for FLAME, the students and their parents, the DIP Finale brought all exhibits together under one roof inside the Multi-Purpose Hall. The exhibition remained open to public for an extra day and was much-visited venue for the parents and their guests while the group presentations were made in front of a large gathering of invited guests and parents in the Kalidas Hall.

We are proud to say that this year, the DIP 2015-16 Trophy went to the group that went to Delhi to study Nizami Qawwali, their report and presentations were titled “The Echoes of Nizami Qawwali”. The group unanimously walked away with the Best Report Award and the Best Exhibition Award. The Best Presentation Award was won by the group that studied “The Siddis of Gujarat – Africans Lost in Transition” for their simple, eloquent and engaging presentation.

Student Activities

Earlier this year, FLAME University invited entries for its annual ‘Intercollegiate Film Festival – FirstCut 2016’. This was the second edition. During last year’s edition of FirstCut, over 150 films from Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai had participated. This year it grew bigger and better, with more institutes participating. The fest received 230 entries from 22 cities across India.

With technology evolving many folds, shooting films is not limited only to highly expensive film cameras. Digital cameras and even cellphones are being used to create film content. The FirstCut 2016 festival recognized this urge of storytelling and allowed all formats for film recording. The only expectation was dedication and a whole lot of passion.

Conditionally, all students under 25 years were allowed to send their films. Shortlisted entries were screened on selected days. Makers of the selected films were also invited to FLAME University’s campus. Winners received trophies, certificates and cash prizes. The institute with maximum shortlisted and winning entries was awarded a rolling trophy as well.

The campus was brimming with students. The fiction movie segment attracted the most crowd. The event lasted two days, and there were separate juries on both days. Eminent personalities from Bollywood and the media industry graced FLAME University’s campus. The first day saw Mr. Samar Nakhate, Pune International Film Festival selection committee member, Ex-FTII Dean and Film Academician; Ms. Shabnam Sukhdev, Writer, Director, Producer (The Last Adieu, Alka: Child to Wife, Journey Back Home, Stranger in my Own Skin, Ishaa Journals) and Mr. Jethu Mundal, film editor of films like Sarfarosh and Henna, as judges. Mr. Madhav Roy Kapur, producer of Nil Battey Sanaata and Gurgaon, and line producer of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Bhoothnath Returns and Rocky Handsome; Mr. Mayank Shekhar, Film Critic (Hindustan Times, Mumbai Mirror), Author, Journalist and Blogger and Akhilesh Jaiswal, Writer of Gangs of Wasseypur and Writer-Director of Mastram, judged the competition on second day.

The jury members interacted with students, encouraged and inspired them by imparting knowledge on various aspects of film making. They also shared many interesting stories about their journey, and answered student’s queries patiently.

Screenings were followed by entertainment and live performances by many participants. The most outstanding act was performed by Taal Inc., a professional drum circle (percussion act) wherein the troupe provided various instruments to the audience who had to play the instruments as per instructions of Taal Inc. members. Even jury members and FLAME faculty attended this act.

Talent from across India found audience in good numbers here. Artists found appreciation, jury found their winners, audience found entertainment, and FLAME University’s FirstCut 2016 found phenomenal success!

Life at FLAMEStudent Activities

In the last decade India has changed. It has evolved not just in terms of infrastructure development but taste as well. Indians are now open to trying new international cuisines to enhance their taste levels. MasterChef is the new KBC. People are glued to the show. They are keenly interested in cooking differently, and keeping it healthy. FLAME University did just that – an open cooking challenge was organized on FLAME University’s campus. The competition was spearheaded and judged by India’s renowned ‘Master Chef’ and Head Chef of Westin Hotel, Ajay Chopra. Sodexo that officially caters to FLAME University made all the arrangements for the same.

The idea was to showcase chopping skills of individuals, time management, team work and creativity in cooking. It was a ‘cold cooking’ challenge which was exceptionally intriguing as to everyone’s surprise many tasty and healthy dishes were prepared without using heat. All raw materials, such as vegetables, fruits, cream, butter, bread, salt etc. were provided to the participants by Sodexo.

Initially there were supposed to be 7 teams of 5 each, but looking at the number of participants it was increased to 9 teams of 5 each, including 1 team of faculty/staff members. Large number of students gathered on the sprawling campus to watch the competition. The neatly set benches, out in the open, piled with ingredients looked straight out of the MasterChef TV show. Chef Ajay Chopra dressed in an impeccably white apron and a chef’s hat radiated professionalism.

Each member initially was given 2 or 3 independent ingredients that they were expected to clean, dice and mix in a limited amount of time. They then had to pass it on to the team’s captain. The captain assembled and came up with a dish using all or most of the ingredients. The team that made the most creative and tastiest dish won.

Chef Ajay Chopra was extremely clear on the rules, and went around methodically explaining them to all participants. He shared some lovely anecdotes and fun facts about cooking before beginning the competition. His profound knowledge on the subject was evident. The teams began chopping as the chef instructed. As the competition progressed the dishes began to take shapes. The air was filled with lovely aroma of fresh ingredients. Many were awestruck at the sheer creativity displayed by the students, in combining the unusual components and marrying them into a perfect dish. The team work and understanding among the participants resulted in a beautiful dish. A good variety of cold salads, sandwiches, burgers, and croissants were stylishly presented to the chef at the end of the competition, leaving him pleasantly surprised. It was apparent that chef Chopra and his co-judges from Sodexo, struggled to choose a winner from the range of delectable dishes.

All the participants had a great time and the winning team received their own personal chef coats, signed by Chef Chopra himself.

Student Activities

You don’t have to be insanely rich or highly successful to perform an act of kindness, preaches a latest TV commercial. This proved true in case of FLAME’s students, when they visited an old-age home on the outskirts of Pune. The FLAME University’s SoAct club organized a visit to ‘Behere Vridh Niwas’ (BVN), and the students visited and helped the residents there.

The winds have changed, the youth today does not shy away from an opportunity to help others. Neither do they make a big deal out of it. It was most endearing to see these young students helping everyone, trying their best to entertain the elders. Bring some joy to their routine daily lives.

Behere Vridh Niwas is an old-age home, built on 2.5 acres purchased from the government and has a total capacity of 76 people (2 in each room, it has a total of 38 rooms). Each room is about 200 square feet with an attached bathroom and a verandah. The rooms are well equipped with cots, mattresses, bed sheets, pillows, mosquito nets, cupboard with safety lockers, chairs, tables and stands for drying clothes. It is self-contained and green as it is supplied with hot water provided by solar water heaters. The facility has a sprawling community hall, equipped with a library, television, newspapers, exercise equipment and sufficient space for community programs. BVN also has a meditation hall for evening prayers, bhajans and of course meditations. The home publishes an internal magazine every quarter. The in-house magazine is written and drafted by the residents of the home. It was well written and drafted, and contained all the information about the facility and schedules of several activities. The home was well organized and fully facilitated, enveloped in serenity. What it lacked was some cheer and noise, an influx of youthful energy, which was sufficiently induced by FLAME’s students on the day of their visit.

Right from the time FLAME students arrived, they started taking up chores and dividing it among themselves. Fixing equipment, moving heavy objects, cooking and cleaning are some of the things they got involved with. The students also spread out and made sure they visited every resident and bonded with them, interacted with them. A resident had his birthday, which was celebrated by the students with much splendor. Later, a group of students sang and danced which was very well received, and appreciated by all. The students also had their lunch with the residents. It was evident how much the residents enjoyed the new energy. They appreciated it as it broke the monotony of their routine lives. It was indeed gratifying to see the students interacting with everyone with so much compassion and care. This was not a task or an assignment. It had no bearing on their curriculum and therefore it was pure selflessness on their part. What they received in return was a lot of blessings and smiles. Their enthusiasm for this courteous act was profound. FLAME University supported this endeavor as they wanted the students to enrich their experience, and aspire to continue performing acts of compassion and kindness in the future too.

Student Activities

In August 2015, FLAME’s student theatre team participated in a theatre event at Mumbai’s Sophia College Festival called Kaleidoscope – Mano Ya Na Mano. The play performed by the team was called ‘Jakadti Bediyan’. It was set in a rural Indian household and revolved around the lives of its occupants and their conceptions or rather misconceptions regarding taboos and superstitions that are prevalent even today, in the so called contemporary society. The play was written, scripted, directed and acted out entirely by us – the student theatre team of FLAME. Despite tough competition from several colleges and institutes, we were named the winners at the event. The concept, the acting and the setup, all went down well with the audience and we won unanimously. We also earned immense appreciation for breaking the clutter and presenting an entertaining act with a socially relevant message.

We were expecting a routine trophy as a reward, but what we heard next truly surprised us. As a reward for winning the competition, we were awarded an opportunity to perform the same act, at the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai. When we got to know this, we were euphoric. The National Centre for Performing Arts is a multi-venue, multi-purpose cultural center in Mumbai, India, which aims to promote and preserve India’s heritage of music, dance, theatre, film, literature and photography. The NCPA has hosted many national and international performers over the years like Parveen Sultana, Shabana Azmi, production of Jane Eyre and The New Jersey Ballet, which staged India’s first full length classical ballet with its Nutcracker production. To perform on the same stage as them, in front of a live audience is no small feat. That is the venue for art circuit’s crème de la crème, and we would be performing in it!

For anyone who is even remotely interested in theatre, this comes as a huge opportunity. So naturally, when we got the invite, we couldn’t wait for the day to come. The performance date was set in December 2015, and we started improvising and preparing for it. We had to transform and upgrade the play from a routine inter-college competition to the level of NCPA’s expectations. Not that the play was lacking anything. It had a very strong storyline and was conceptually very creative. We all put our best foot forward, but we had to scale it up nonetheless. We started preparing for it with zest, and left no stone unturned in fine tuning the play. FLAME whole heartedly supported us in this endeavor and encouraged us. We meticulously rehearsed again and again, and were theatre ready.

Finally, on the 15th of December 2015, we arrived in Mumbai at the NCPA, anxious yet excited to see what it would feel like to perform on a platform of this magnitude. When we stepped inside the theatre, saw the stage, the lights and the green rooms, we were simply awestruck. It was a dream come true. When we went on that stage for the first time, to do a stage rehearsal, we realized the enormity of the opportunity we had to showcase our talent and to make FLAME proud. We were eight of us, and all were quite nervous and overwhelmed. However, despite all the anticipation and anxiety, we successfully performed our play and received resounding appreciation from a completely sold out house. Yes, our first show was completely sold.

All in all, the entire production turned out to be a colossal success. Just like this time, we hope to get more such opportunities in the future and look forward to garnering all the possible laurels and experiences in the process. Our faith and our confidence is now strengthened. No trophy or gifts could have surpassed this reward. It was an achievement that made us proud of our choices, and talent.

SportsStudent Activities

Cricket is one of the most loved sports in India. It is almost like a religion. If you want to cheer a cricket enthusiast, tell him about a sprawling open cricket field. That’s exactly one of the best features of FLAME University’s cricket ground – a well maintained, international sized field, nestled between picturesque lush green hills of Pune. A heaven for any cricket enthusiast. Therefore, when FLAME University announced its first ever ‘FLAME University Corporate Cricket League (FUCCL) it got phenomenal response from corporates. However, FLAME decided to limit the league to 16 teams on first-cum-first-serve basis. 16 IT giants were selected to compete against each other during weekends from December 19, 2015 to February 7, 2016.

The teams were divided in four pools as below:

Group A: Siemens, Cybage, Capgemini, ADP

Group B: Persistent, Infosys, KPIT, Zensar

Group C: Wipro, Synerzip, Cognizant, Syntel

Group D: HSBC, Barclays, TCS, Yardi

The tournament is currently underway, and is played in the T20 format. The top two teams from each group based on points or NRR would qualify for the quarterfinals. In the quarterfinals, the winner of Group-A will play the runner-up of Group-B and the winner of Group-B will take on the runner-up of Group-A. The other set of quarterfinals will be between Group-C and Group-D. The winning team will receive prize money and a grand FUCCL trophy. There is prize money for the runner-up team as well. There will also be individual trophies for ‘man-of-the-match’, ‘man-of-the-series’, ‘best batsman’ and ‘best bowler’. ‘Man-of-the-series’, ‘best bowler’ and ‘best batsman’ will receive prize money too.

The tournament has been very well received. The profound positive energy between teams right from day one was palpable. The teams cheered each other and everyone played in harmony, seeing each other as healthy competition. The two IT giants Cognizant and Infosys scored contrasting wins to open their account scoring full points as the FLAME University Corporate Cricket League 2015 got underway at the FLAME University campus. During another match, Wipro scored big, while the TCS vs HSBC fixture turned into a nail biting finish. The best match thus far in the tournament was undoubtedly between Infosys and Persistent.

The Infosys vs Persistent match ended in an interesting tie. Persistent won the toss and elected to field. Persistent did a great job restricting Infosys to 101 runs in the stipulated 20 overs. Persistent, in their chase were 100/7 in 19 Overs and needed only 2 runs off the last over. Infosys did a fantastic job to restrict Persistent which resulted in the game ending in a tie. A super-over was played which Infosys won with back-to-back sixes! It was a thoroughly entertaining match for the players and viewers alike. The winter chill of December only added to the excitement.

We can expect to see many more close encounters in the coming weekends as we inch closer to the end of the league stage. The camaraderie on the pitch between rival teams is astoundingly endearing, as they support and encourage each other.

Life at FLAMEStudent Activities

FLAME University’s programs are fully residential, and hence the volume of activities that are conducted on campus post the academic hours is unbelievable. Set between lush green hills, the sprawling campus provides a perfect set up for sports and many other student activities. Recently the office of student activities organized a quiz contest at the university’s massive amphitheatre. An outdoor quiz contest on a pleasant winter evening attracted a lot of students. The competition was to be held between all four houses of FLAME University. Hundreds of students turned up at the appointed hour. The quiz was organized and anchored by Mr. Vimesh Shah. Mr. Shah arrested everyone’s attention right from the start, and held the audience captivated throughout. The quiz went on for 3 hours as everyone acquired general knowledge in abundance. Mr. Vimesh Shah, was quick and witty and drew a lot of laughs and appreciation from the audience. He was also extremely knowledgeable.

Right from round one, Mr. Shah set the ball rolling, by conducting an ‘open question’ quiz round, where the entire house could participate. The open air amphitheatre had suddenly become alive. Students had to think on their feet. The round challenged the potential of the student body, as the questions were not run of the mill. However, the students surprised the quiz master pleasantly, by responding quickly and correctly.

For the second round the quiz master used audio-visuals as a way of asking questions. Then there was a round where answers were provided by the quiz master, and the teams were required to find the right question. This was exceptional, and played a major role in balancing the scores amongst the four teams.

Almost every topic was covered during the different rounds. There were questions on current affairs, business, arts, advertising, media, politics, etc. The quiz was very well articulated and the students learnt immensely in a stimulating way. Originally the quiz was scheduled to last for two hours. However, it stretched beyond the timeslot. No one complained as the competitiveness between the houses was immense.

While all the student houses competed extremely well, Aryabhatta House won the FLAME Quiz 2015 Rotating Trophy. The quiz ended with a promise of hosting another quiz soon.

– Param Vyas, FLAME