After bringing in a mass hypnotist, street magician, stompers and beatboxers to its national cultural festival, Mood Indigo, last year, IIT Mumbai has stepped up its quirk quotient in its 2010 edition. The students of the engineering college, ranked amongst the top 10 in India, are bringing down sumo wrestling for the first time in the country.
Not only that, audiences who attend the event will get a chance to contest with three-time world sumo champion Byambajav Ulambayar and former world champion Naranbat Gankhuyag. Says Mirik Gogri, Core Group Member, Mood Indigo, “We always try to bring never-seen-before acts to Mood Indigo. We’ve seen sumo wrestlers like Yokozuna in WWE, films and ads, but after research, found that they’ve never been brought down to India. So we thought of giving it a shot.”
But of course, it was an uphill task for the organisers to pull off the feat. They got in touch with the Japanese consulate in India, only to find that in Japan, sumo wrestling is very sacred and wrestlers from there don’t participate in exhibition matches.
“We then contacted the California Sumo Association in USA, since sumo wrestling is an upcoming sport in America and they then helped us out,” Gogri reveals.
Since a typical sumo wrestling match lasts only two-three minutes, the wrestlers will also be performing exercises, showcasing forbidden sumo techniques and acrobatics, including full body splits. But most interestingly, they will be challenging audience members to contest with them – where the contestant wins if he can push the wrestler a certain number of steps!
“And since the theme of Mood I this year is Desi tadka, you will probably get to see the wrestlers in pagdis (turbans) and dhotis too,” Gogri says.
The wrestlers, obviously, are looking forward to the event. Says Ulambayar, “I have had sumo competitions and demonstrations in over 20 countries, but this is my first trip to India! See you soon.”