The dazzling lights and laser projections shooting straight-off from the ground at the Salt Lake Stadium for a replay of the magical moments from past Indian Premier League (IPL) editions as a fresh chapter of the cash-rich Twenty20 tournament gets going with a glitzy opening jamboree that unites the world of cricket with blockbuster Bollywood on Tuesday.
Setting the stage for the eighth edition of the league will be tinsel town’s stars — Hrithik Roshan, Shahid Kapoor and Anushka Sharma — in what is being pitched as the ‘India ka Tyohar’ (Festival of India). The two-hour inaugural aims to charm the audience with a festive feel and includes a special segment dedicated to defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). It also incorporates more glimpses of cricket than the previous inaugurals. Despite the absence of superstar Shahrukh Khan, a regular at the inaugurals, or any foreign artist, Roshan Abbas’s Encompass Events promises a “different” and “global” experience that will entertain all.
The Kolkata connect will not be forgotten. Around 400 performers (including 300 locals) will be involved in the stellar opener choreographed by Remo D’Souza and Santosh Shetty that will see eight-to-ten-minute performances by Hrithik, Shahid and Anushka (cricketer Virat Kohli’s beau) on a mash-up of popular Bollywood dance tracks. Incidentally, this is Hrithik’s second live show in Kolkata after a gap of 15 years while the city hosted its last IPL inaugural in 2013. Actor-director Farhan Akhtar will belt out songs with his band while actor Saif Ali Khan, Indian cricketing legend Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi’s son, will host the show and introduce the cricketers and stars. All eight team captains will grace the occasion to take the Marylebone Cricket Club(MCC) Spirit of Cricket pledge.
KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir will put the trophy back in play, signalling the start of the 2015 season. However, the “hero” of the show will be the eye-popping floor projections. “The hero of the show are the floor projections through which the evolution of IPL will be narrated. It will offer a glimpse into the winning teams, the cricketers and what the league means to people. The camaraderie between cricketers of different countries while playing together in a single team will be in focus,” Encompass vice-president Chanda Singh told. The “tight and seamless” script will incorporate both Bollywood and cricket and will appeal to global viewers. “The content will be in English and will be in sync with the spirit of the IPL song ‘India Ka Tyohar’. The choreography would be Bollywood style,” Chanda said.
Composer Pritam is in charge of the music that will start-off with a chorus of Rabindra Sangeet and move on to a mix of some of his hits including ‘Badtameez dil’ and ‘Balam pichkari’. D’Souza’s song list has chart-toppers from Bang Bang! and Dhoom for Hrithik; PK and Jab Tak Hai Jaan for Anushka and R… Rajkumar and Kaminey for Shahid. As last minute preparations continue in full swing, Chanda said they are hoping rain doesn’t play spoilsport.