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Poetry Slam: New outlet for Mumbai collegians to express themselves

By January 2, 2018No Comments

Source : Hindustan Times

The format of open-mic events is different from the traditional kavi sammelans and mushairas


Mohammed Sadriwala, a student at Xavier’s Institute of Communication (XIC), started writing poetry in 2008. It was a hobby that gave him pleasure, which later became his passion. Sadriwala never thought his verses would reach thousands of people. But in the past one year, the videos of his recitals have gone viral on YouTube. One of his recitals has been viewed a million times.

The videos were shot at open-mic events that are becoming frequent and popular in the city. Such events are attracting students to exhibit their poetic talents. Young poets in the city are expressing themselves through collectives and poetry competitions, known as Poetry Slam. Moreover, college festivals are now featuring Poetry Slams to encourage students to showcase their talent.

“Poetry has always been part of many students’ life. But it has gained more traction owing to social media. It has now become a collaborative effort,’’ said Darsheel Shah, a student at Xavier’s College and a part of Open Sky Slam, a Bengaluru-based collective of young poets.

In the past last two years, Open Sky Slam has organised 18 events in the city, at times in collaboration with colleges and other cultural organisations.

“Initially, only our friends attended these events. But slowly the word spread through social media and many joined out of curiosity. Now, we have become very much stable,’’ said Shivani Lalani, who heads the city chapter of Open Sky Slam.

The format of open-mic events is different from the traditional kavi sammelans and mushairas. The participants are encouraged to express themselves through any medium be it be it spoken word poetry, songs, musical performances or storytelling.

This year, Sophia College held a slam poetry competition titled ‘What Are Words Worth?’, as part of its annual festival ‘Kaleidoscope’. The participants were required to write and read a piece of original poetry in either English or Hindi.

poetry slam has also been part of Indian Institute of Technology Bombay’s (IIT-B) annual cultural festival Mood Indigo. However, this year the institute also invited Aranya Johar, Yahya Bootwala and Gaurav Tripathi – three youngsters who became famous after their spoken word performance went viral online. The organisers said that both of these events were well received.

“Poetry has become a sensation among students these days. Clearly, there’s an audience for such events. Many people don’t know that there are many people around them who write poems. There’s a need to tap into the inner talent of these people,’’ said Pranil Joshi, one of the student organisers of Mood Indigo.

According to Sadriwala, these events provide a platform to many amateur poets and help them hone their skills. “I attend open mic events for two reasons. They allow me to test my own content. I also get to hear some very good recitals. Although, there are some people who just want to rant, the overall experience is very good. I have enjoyed every moment,’’ he said.


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