When chairman Rajeev Shukla told Mail Today last month that the IPL opening ceremony would be an evening remember, the first question that came to mind was how he would manage to entertain CM Mamata Banerjee’s request to keep a Kolkata touch to the show and simultaneously ensure it has a world appeal.
But the IPL looks set to come good on the promise. If roping in West Bengal’s brand ambassador Shah Rukh Khan’s company – Red Chillies Entertainment – to organise the gala affair was a masterstroke, the icing on the cake has come with King Khan himself starting off the evening’s proceedings by reciting one of Rabindranath Tagore’s poems.
According to a member the organising team, SRK is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that Tuesday night will be etched in everyone’s mind for eternity.
"Shah Rukh is not only the brand ambassador of the state, but also the owner of defending champions KKR. So he is putting in his heart and soul ensure that Tuesday’s show is an instant hit,” he said.
If the Tagore poem wasn’t enough for a Kolkata feel, up next will be the city’s own musical guru, Pritam.
One of Bollywood’s most successful music directors, he has composed a song especially for the evening and around 300 performers will dance to his tune.
Then, the international extravaganza will begin with a carnival sorts, where flying drummers, cheerleaders, gymnasts, mass dancers, rhythm acrobats and stilt- walkers will strike up an organised rhythm to mesmerise the crowd.
In order to represent the teams participating in the competition, a huge balloon with the IPL logo will be flown up in the air to connect with the nine small balloons already present in the sky – representing the nine teams.
The entertainment part will then be put on hold for a while as the captains of the nine teams come up on stage to sign the MCC Spirit of Cricket pledge, after which KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir will put the IPL trophy back in play.
Soon, SRK will be back on stage, and on Monday, he gave a sneak peak into what would be next. “I will be performing to some of my songs. Katrina Kaif and Deepika Padukone, two of my co- stars, will also be there. Pitbull, the international rapper, will also thrill the audiences,” he said.
There was a lot of talk regarding the artificial turf at the YBK Stadium getting damaged, but the organisers have laid a a three-layer carpet.
But there are two things that Khan and Shukla need to be wary of – a chance of thunderstorms in the evening, as is common during this time of the year, and the floodlights, which have often left organisers red-faced by abruptly going off.
A member of the organising committee told Mail Today that trial runs have been done with a new set of floodlights and they seem to be working well.
“The floodlights have been tested for a while and we don’t see any problem that might arise with the lights suddenly going off,” he said.
KKR CEO Venky Mysore said Mamata Banerjee herself has been invited to light the inaugural lamp on Monday.
“I had a short courtesy meeting with her today. We requested her to be present and thanked her for her support,” Mysore said.
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