“For us, budget is a criteria, and not gender,” says Akhil Dhoot, Head, Mood-I, IIT Bombay

Singer Sona Mohapatra thrashed the Mood Indigo (Mood-I) committee on Facebook (FB), calling them ‘sexists’. Mohapatra in her FB post said she was denied to perform solo, and was asked to tag along with a male artist. Mood-I is the annual cultural festival of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B), which is a four day event starting from December 23 to 26, 2016. PaGaLGuY spoke to Akhil Dhoot, the overall coordinator for Mood-I 2016, to know if ‘gender’ is a criteria before finalising an artist.

Dhoot said, “Our only criteria is budget, and availability of artist. We never select artists based on their gender. We wanted Sona Mohapatra to perform at Mood-I 2016, but budget was a constraint.”

Mood-I approached musician Karsh Kale as well, which was well within their budget, and got him on board.

Mood-I committee refused all the charges that are labelled against them as untrue and factually incorrect. They also stated that solo female artists have performed at Mood-I in the past. Singer Asha Bhosle performed at Mood-I in 2010, and in October 2016, Tulsi Kumar performed at a pre-fest concert organised by Mood-I.

On being called sexists, Ketaki Kakade, Media head for Mood-I, 2016, said, “Students get in to IITs because of their hard-work, and aptitude. There is no boys quota in IITs, and I don’t see any sexism on our part.”

Mood-I committee also said that they had no idea that the singer will release such a statement. Dhoot added, “We told Sona Mohapatra’s manager about our budget constraint, and informed about finalising Karsh Kale for the festival.”