The evolution of RETINA - Intercollege fest of AIIMS Bhopal

Disclaimer 1: I did my MBBS from AIIMS Bhopal, so my opinion can be biased.
Disclaimer 2: This article was originally wrote as an answer for a Quora question(May 2019). Later, it was removed from Quora and posted in this blog after making necessary changes.

AIIMS Bhopal initially had an intra-college socio-cultural fest which was called TORSADES which was conducted by ABACUS (AIIMS Bhopal Academic and Cultural Society) in the year 2014. It was a decent program, considering the budget and time constraints the coordinators had. Later, ABACUS and ABSA (AIIMS Bhopal Sports Association) were dissolved after a lot of negotiations with the administration as these bodies were completely under the control of the authorities and a brand new students’ association was formed. The entire process took almost a year and there wasn’t any fest in the year 2015. Students’ association was extremely keen in conducting an intra-college fest of high magnitude. RETINA (inter-college fest of AIIMS Bhopal) was their brainchild.

The inaugural edition of Retina was organized in the year 2016 by the MBBS 2013 batch. Many were apprehensive about it because it was the first time that AIIMS Bhopal was hoisting such a big event. Despite facing numerous difficulties, especially in gathering sponsorship and bringing the celebrities, the students managed to conduct a good show. No stones were left unturned as far as promotion of the event was concerned. The organizers went in groups to almost all colleges of Bhopal to spread the word about the fest. A set of senior students made an engaging trailer which got appreciation from various corners as well. Due to these efforts, Retina got some hype before the commencement. 

Leaving the apprehensions as just apprehensions, the fest became a grand success. The four days event featured celebrities like Mika Singh, Zaeden (DJ), Afreen Vaz (Miss India Supranational 2015) etc. At that time, AIIMS Bhopal didn’t have a proper auditorium, hence all the major events were held at open stage. The fest organized a wide variety of cultural and sports events. Celebrity nights had jam packed crowds and it was an eye opener for the other colleges at Bhopal as a fest of this magnitude was something new for people of city of lakes. Many never expected that a fest of this enormity would ever happen at Bhopal. Contrary to the popular presentiment, students of Bhopal attended the event in large numbers. Celebrity nights, countless competitions, large crowd, multiple sponsor outlets in campus etc. gave Retina the much needed popularity.
Mika Singh at Retina 2016
Conducting the second edition in the lines of the previous edition sounds easy; moreover AIIMS Bhopal campus was in a much better state this time, in terms of landscaping. Nonetheless it wasn’t the case of Retina 2017. Due to multiple disputes between students’ union and administration, there was an uncertainty about the event. This made fetching sponsorship difficult for the organizers. Nevertheless, they managed to bring one of the biggest crowd pullers of India for Retina 2017, Farhan Akhtar. Being a professional with high virtues, he gave ample promotion to the event through his social media handles. His performance would probably be the best that Retina has ever featured. His celebrity night witnessed an audience of over 4000. Zaeden (this time, under the banner of SUNBURN) once again came to AIIMS Bhopal and Aradhana Buragohain (Femina Miss India) was another crowd puller. Sunil Grover came, saw and conquered the audience. This time, some events were conducted at auditorium.

Farhan Akhtar, Darshan Doshi and Sunil Grover at Retina 2017
I left AIIMS Bhopal in February 2018, so I wasn’t a part of further editions of Retina. Notwithstanding my absence, I got the updates from social media pages and my friend who were there at AIIMS for post-graduation.

Retina 2018 had the likes of Mohit Chauhan, Roshmitha Harimurthy (Miss Diva 2016), Aakash Mehta (comedian) and Olly Esse (DJ). The landscaping of AIIMS Bhopal was complete by then. As far as event organization is concerned, this was the best Retina. The organizers decorated the whole campus with lights and cut-outs and made few spots for clicking nice photos. As a part of event promotion, flash mobs were conducted at different places across the city. Salim-Sulaiman band was the highlight of Retina 2019. What was special about this edition was that, despite having a shoe-string budget, students conducted such a show which was nothing short of the word magnificent.

Mohit Chauhan / Salim-Sulaiman at Retina 2019 and 2019 respectively.
So, in short, Retina is the biggest Inter-college fest in central India and it is living up to the expectations every year.
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