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Fun, fight & friends at fest

Students cheer for their schoolmates and (right) a DPS Newtown student takes part in Western Group Singing in the prelims

Coffee shops, malls and multiplexes may just vanish from the weekend diaries of schoolkids as Dabur Red Paste presents The Great TTIS Challenge 2012 powered by Young Metro takes over as the place to be for three days from today.

For Chandreyee Chatterjee of Patha Bhavan, as with several other students from schools across the city, weekend plans revolve around Bidhan Sishu Udyan at Ultadanga, the venue for the fest’s eighth edition.

“My friends and I plan to reach before the first event starts and be there right till the end. Nothing is more important than the Great TTIS Challenge for the next three days,” said the Class XII student.

Pulses will go racing despite the nip in the air as around 1,200 students from 110 schools queue up to take part in 15 events.

“It is our school’s tradition to make it to the finals. Last year we were the second runner up and the year before that our school was the Champion of the Champions,” said Deep Banerjee, a Class XII student at Vivekananda Mission School who participated in Instrumental Jugalbandi, Fusion Band and X-Factor. “We will try to take back the trophy and it is my last year to do it.”

The road to the finals hasn’t been easy — 3,000 students competed with each other from December 9 to 11 with an eye on the coveted crown.

From a Twilight-inspired dance sequence complete with werewolves battling vampires in Fusion Dance to fishing nets on the ramp, the prelims showcased the creativity of the students.

Even the judges weren’t untouched by the fest fever as some of them jammed at the end of the Western group singing event on Day 1 of the prelims.

Judges are hopeful about the young talents too. “These students could become artistes to reckon with,” said Rupam Islam, a TTIS Challenge veteran and one of the celebrity judges this time as well.

Basanti Biswas, the principal of Calcutta Girls’ High School, said inter-school fests offered students a platform for their talents. “There are many with hidden talents, waiting for the right opportunity.”

The Great TTIS Challenge is not only about fun and talent but breaking the mould as well. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, which traditionally took part in eastern solo and creative writing, is one of the finalists in Fashion Parade and Fusion Dance this time.

“We have to move with the times and if a school fest has events like a fashion show, we cannot restrict our students from participating,” said principal Anindita Chatterjee.

Agnimitra Paul, one of the judges for Fashion Parade, will be on the lookout for innovation. “They might not have raw materials or infrastructure but it is the creativity and the effort that count.”

Students can also let their hair down and groove to the music of Ekuil-i-Brium, the star performer on Saturday, and DJ Akash, who will spin the tracks for the Sunday finale.

Also joining in the fun on the final day will be the children’s very own Topshe, actor Shaheb Bhattacherjee, who will be present at the prize distribution ceremony.