Mangaluru: I was at my friend’s house at 6.50pm, so also bunch of my other friends who had also gathered there to watch the inaugural ceremony of IPL 8 on the 52″ Sony LED TV. We were all ready in our comfortable seats with our favorite drinks in our hands anxiously waiting to watch the IPL opening night, but were disappointed when we found out that the ceremony will be delayed due to heavy rains in Kolkata. We had to keep our fingers crossed for nearly 90 minutes when it was announced that the rains had stopped.
The razzmatazz which was suppose to kick off at 7pm was delayed by nearly 90 minutes due to heavy rains that lashed the Salt Lake Stadium-Kolkata. It is learnt that the Nor’wester, known as Kal Baishaki in this part of the world, had been threatening to mar the organisers’ plan of holding a grand opening ceremony.We could see spectators holding colorful umbrellas in large numbers across all the stands and electronic light/sound equipment were being quickly covered with rain getting heavier by the minute. But the crowd still stayed back and watched the glittering extravaganza.
The incessant rain failed to dampen the spirit of ‘City of Joy’ as a dazzling Bollywood-style opening ceremony kick started the eighth edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket at the all decked-up Salt Lake stadium on Tuesday night. The event was a little subdued compared to the galas of the previous editions but the cine stars still managed to put up a show, enthralling the thousands of drenched fans who were seen still glued to their seats. Even the teenagers and kids were having a good time anxiously waiting to see the Cricket stars and also Bollywood stars.
“Rain or shine the celebration will continue that’s how we love our cricket. Now we have a new season apart from monsoon, summer, winter and spring and that’s the season of IPL,” the anchor of the show, Saif Ali Khan, said in his opening address. The ceremony began with a traditional Rabindra Sangeet rendition of ‘Ananda Loke’, with women wearing traditional Bengali sarees danced to the famous song, led by music director Pritam.
It is learnt that, barring the eight captains who were forced to stay for the formal oath, team members of Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore had left the stadium. The Omkara star called out the captains of the eight franchises as the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, JP Duminy and George Bailey walked onto the dais. But it was the trio of Dhoni, Kohli and Gambhir who received the biggest applause as firecrackers lit up the Kolkata sky. The eight skippers led by India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni then signed the MCC Spirit of Cricket pledge to start IPL—8 formally in front of Ravi Shastri before they posed for a formal group photo.
The crowd cheered loud for Virat Kohli, louder for Mahendra Singh Dhoni but loudest for their ‘very own’ Gautam Gambhir. And to ensure players abide by it, the captains of all eight teams in the IPL took a pledge to play by the spirit of the game before the tournament gets rolling. Ravi Shastri- Team India Director and also IPL Governing Council member read the message of cricket spirit, he said everything good, but I feel he should have added these words, “You shall not indulge in illegal match fixing, illegal betting and corruption?”
One of the greatest entertainers of the curtailed ceremony was Anushka, who took to the stage amid chants of ’Kohli, Kohli’ while the Royal Challengers skipper made a quick entry to the VVIP box to catch the performance. Kohli, who had come with a backpack, was seen leaving the box soon after Anushka’s 10—minute performance got over. While Bollywood heartthrob Hrithik Roshan stole the show with his electrifying dance performance, leading lady Anushka Sharma brought on a lot of panache with her performance. The versatile Farhan Akhtar and Shahid Kapoor regaled the crowd, both performing to their respective numbers from movies such as Rock On and Kaminey.
Of those from the glam world, Hrithik was the most sought—after as he gyrated to his hit numbers from Bang Bang and Dhoom 2. Bollywood then took centrestage with Haider actor Shahid making an entry in a motorcycle to the tunes of local hero Bappi Lahiri. But the show-stopper of the night was undoubtedly Hrithik, who enthralled the thin audience with his groovy steps and later thanked West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for gifting him a scarf that dangled around his neck.“I was gifted this Uttario (scarf) by Didi and I promised her to wear this as a symbol of love,” Hrithik said.
In conclusion, what I feel about this IPL 8 Opening ceremony compared to the previous ones was dull and boring. First, rain interrupted the start of the event and then Saif Ali Khan, the host, absolutely looked clueless with what he was doing. Yes, the ‘Chhote Nawab’ goofed up at several places while hosting and for those expecting a good show, it was a night to forget. Right from the start, it looked the actor depended on a script. He did try to improvise, but fell flat on his face. He was quite purposeless to the proceedings. When Rohit Sharma was called up on the dais, it turned out to be a moment of laughter as the Mumbai Indians skipper was unaware where to go. Rohit kept wandering and nearly slipped into the light fittings, bearing his team’s emblem and it turned out to be inadvertently funny. In all, there were no sparkling performances and thus the gala event, sadly, was an uninteresting and and inadvertently funny affair. Oh well!
It is learnt that this season all the matches and ceremonies will be in India only. As the previous season half tournament was in Dubai and Half in India due to Elections in India.No doubt at all that Pepsi IPL 2015 Opening Ceremony was the biggest entertainment show and people went crazy watching it. And for six of us buddies glued to our seats watching the ceremony on the idiot box was simply fun and frolic. The nearly four hours coverage of the IPL 8 ceremony resulted in consumption of two “Black Dogs” and dozen of Cold-ones-“Kingfisher-,the Good Times partner”, by six of us.. And there was plenty of food, like Chicken Hot Wings from KFC, Pizza from Domino’s, and Chinese delicacies from Hao Ming. Cheers to IPL 8- the real fun of this cricket event begins this evening when Kolkata Knight Riders face Mumbai Indians- and I will be watching it live on the big TV screen set up by the Hotel Moti Mahal pool-side. Rock on IPL 8!