On March 13, members of the UTM Hindu Student Council were busy throughout the day decorating the Student Centre Presentation Room for the annual Antakshri (un-taak-shri) event.
Antakshri is a musical game popular in South Asia. Recently, it has become more established through various television programs and competitions across India. The concept of the game is for different teams to compete with one another by singing lines from Hindi songs, usually famous Indian pop songs or from Indian films. After one song is sung, the other team must remember the last letter which was sung and begin to sing a different song starting with the same letter.
The two teams represented last Friday were India and Pakistan — also known as the Kavis and Shayars (both meaning Poet in Hindi and Urdu respectively). Last years competition was won by the Pakistani team.
The two teams gathered, sitting cosily, with Master of Ceremonies Vivek Pemmasani welcomed the two teams — seated on bean bags and small mats in two columns with a strip of red carpet in between — before each team stood and sung the national anthems of both India and Pakistan.
As the two teams battled against each other through song, many in the seated audience got up to dance while others hooted and whistled in the heat of the excitement. Both teams jeered one another affectionately and cheered their own groups by chanting Jeeta ga, Bhai Jeeta ga Jeeta ga! — Who will win? Who will win?
On a few occasions, the two teams complained because they felt they were not given enough time to properly sing a song, and that the opposing team was given a greater time allotment. By the end of the third round, a member from the Indian side decided to join the Pakistani team and helped sing a song. The judges noticed this and discarded the points that could have been given to Pakistan.
After thorough deliberation and quarrelling between the two sides, the judges decided to pose a bonus question to give the two teams another chance to earn points. In the end, India emerged victorious by five points.
The game also included intervals with funny jokes by the MCs, and a magnificent performance by Nadia Hussain from the Pakistani team, who sang a famous Indian song called Kabhi Kabhi. Although the main attraction of the night was over, the energy remained as the players and guests mingled with each other in their Indian/Pakistani attire, danced to the energetic music of the DJ, and savoured the Indian food on hand.