Hailing from a rich legacy of lieges such as Harsh ‘Kaalia’ Agarwal and our indigenous Kaustav Mohanty, the present Backstage coordinator Kunal Sharma speaks with an effortless nonchalance that is inherently “Backstage.”
As a minor APOGEE department Backstage is responsible for managing the auditorium before and during the fest, a task which includes handling everything from the chief guest to the inauguration. Responding to the call of his alma mater, Mani Shankar, an ex-BITSian film maker who has motion pictures like Mukhbir and 16 December to his credit, is the chief guest that Backstage has zeroed in on.
Backstage’s other main job, creating structures for certain high-profile Auditorium events, is also being amply dealt with. Armed with his sixteen minions (read first years) and a rather reluctant second year, this Bihar board topper hopes to set the stage ablaze with his structures for Brain of BITS (B.O.B.) and Overhead Transmission (O.H.T.). The intended grand reveal for B.O.B. has a fluorescent cross under spotlights as its first sight, followed by a coffin and personalised gravestones for each of the six participants. The stage for O.H.T. will be casino themed, with a gigantic roulette wheel, playing cards, chips and dice being the proposed structures. Apart from this, Backstage is actively involved in organising various events that occur in the auditorium throughout the festival. .
Though APOGEE has had a positive outlook so far, certain grievances do exist, with the main concern this year being a lack of funding for Backstage’s structures.. The budget is half of what it was last year, and stringent measures have been taken to ensure that it does not exceed the stipulated amount – measures like replacing iron with thermocol in some of the structures. Sadly, this has lead to a serious reduction in the overall quality. For APOGEE and the BITSian populace as a whole, this has translated into a relative fall in the quality of speakers and judges.
Signing off, Kunal becomes misty eyed as he recounts his first Oasis as a part of Backstage. Reminiscing, who would have fathomed that the same shiny –faced and doe eyed child would one day go on to lead the department.