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I learnt leadership at Mood I: Nandan Nilekani

December 18, 2004

The India Institute of Technology-Bombay's youth cultural festival, Mood Indigo -- or Mood I as everyone calls it -- began long before fests became the buzzword among the hip and happening college crowd.

It started in 1973 with a frugal budget of Rs 5,000, and by about 1976 became the most awaited event of the year.

From the very beginning, the core of Mood I was competitions that provided a platform for young talent.

A certain Amjad Khan shone on the dramatics stage in Mood I's early editions and a young assistant director called Mani Ratnam directed an award-winning play here.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Mood I's high wattage rock competition Livewire has been the launching pad for most of the country's big rock acts.

Parikrama, Zero and Pentagram became poster boys for rockers in the country after performing at Livewire.

"Livewire is the rock institution. Playing at IIT Powai [which is where the Institute is located in Mumbai] is a dream that every new band fosters," says Sid of Zero.

Subir Malik of Parikrama echoes his sentiment. "We played for the first time at MI in 1995. We attribute that concert as the reason behind getting Parikrama an all India reputation. It was phenomenal."

Parikrama and Zero will be performing at Mood I this year as well.

For theatre and acting buffs, there's Horizons, launched in 1998, with workshops, interactive sessions and professional plays.

For budding fashion fanatics, there's Vogue -- it was Style for a while. It is the biggest amateur fashion competition in the country.

It has served as the perfect prequel for the careers of many young models and designers; actress Hrishita Bhatt has fond memories of her Mood I days.

Only the best and the brightest turn up for the professional performances, popularly known as Pronite.

Zakir Hussain performed for five years consecutively from 1980 to 1984.

"I have performed twice in Mood Indigo and it was a great experience. It's heartening to see that all kinds of music from folk, classical to rock are appreciated there. I am really looking forward to performing in Mood Indigo again," says Hariharan, who teams up with Colonial Cousins partner Leslie Lewis for Mood I 2005.

"Mood Indigo as an event is an institution for Indian bands and music. It is a great honour to be performing here," says Lucky Ali.

"We were the guys who started Mood Indigo. And I personally organised two of them. Once you have done that, I think you know all about management. At least, all that I know about management and leadership I learnt in Mood Indigo," says Infosys CEO Nandan Nilekani.

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