A glitzy mix of Bollywood razzmatazz and high-octane performances, including that of West Indian cricketer Dwayne Bravo’s smash-hit rap ‘Champion dance’, marked a glittering opening ceremony which set the ball rolling for the ninth edition of the IPL in Mumbai on Friday.
The two hour and 15 minute long event was less spectacular as compared to the previous editions but the cine stars still managed to put up an entertaining show, enthralling the gathering at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Stadium at the National Sports Club of India in Mumbai.
Bollywood actors Ranveer Singh, Katrina Kaif, Jacqueline Fernandez and Punjabi rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh kept the audience glued to their seats during the opening gala attended by the BCCI top brass, franchise team owners, players and support staff of all the eight participating teams.
The crowd at the indoor stadium enjoyed every bit of Bravo’s much-anticipated ‘champions dance’. In white blazer and black trousers, Bravo, a part of the West Indies World Twenty20 winning team, swayed to his ‘Champion dance’ as the fellow cricketers and crowd cheered him.
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Bravo also danced to another number ‘Chalo Chalo’ and was joined on the stage by Bollywood playback singer Ankit Tewari who sang an Indian version of ‘Champion’ — ‘Hindustan Mein Bade Bade Champion.
Like earlier opening ceremonies, the cricket segment was short and limited to only the oath taking ceremony by the skippers of the eight teams. Indian team Director Ravi Shastri ushered the eight captains to sign the MCC Spirit of Cricket pledge for fair play.
Zaheer Khan (Delhi Daredevils), Suresh Raina (Gujarat Lions), David Miller (Kings XI Punjab), Gautam Gambhir (Kolkata Knight Riders), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Rising Pune Supergiants), Virat Kohli (Royal Challengers Bangalore), David Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad) and Rohit Sharma (Mumbai Indians) took the MCC Spirit of Cricket pledge one by one.
Defending champions Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit placed the trophy back on the podium and IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla and BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur joined the skippers on stage.
Cricket will take over from Saturday when Mumbai Indians open the defense of their title against new outfit Rising Pune Supergiants, led by India’s World Cup winning skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, in Mumbai.
The show began with the entry of Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez who performed to ‘Yaar Na Milay Mar Jawa’ from the movie ‘Kick’ and ‘Sooraj Dooba’ from ‘Roy’. It was followed by an impressive performance by Kings United Group — world championship hip hop bronze medallists — which added spice to the evening.
Indian cricket team Director Ravi Shastri then took over as call in the captains of eight participating teams to take the oath of fair play as they signed the MCC Spirit of Cricket pledge.
IPL Chairman Rajiv Shukla addressed the gathering in the presence of BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur. He said that BCCI was committed to contribute its part in addressing the issue of severe drought in many parts of Maharashtra in the wake of the criticism from several quarters, including a stinging observation by Bombay High Court.
After the cricket segment was over, it was Katrina’s turn to keep the crowd spellbound. In black tights and golden top, she performed ‘Dhoom Machale’, ‘Bang Bang’ and ‘Afghan Jalebi’ before Bravo’s ‘Champion Dance’ took centerstage.
Punjabi rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh made his presence felt with a performance on his superhit numbers.
The stage was then set for Bollywood heartthrob Ranveer Singh to make a grand entry by donning the cricket attire to the wild cheer of the crowd inside the stadium as he entertained them for a long period towards the close.
He asked everyone present at the arena to dance along with him on ‘Galla Goodiyan’ from the 2015 blockbuster ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’ and ‘Malhari’ from ‘Bajirao Mastani’.
Ranveer concluded his performance with ‘Tune Mari Entriyaan’ from his own film ‘Gunde’. He called back Katrina, Jacqueline, Yo Yo Honey Singh and Bravo on stage and they swayed to ‘Champioin Dance’ once again.
The concluding performance was that American dancehall reggae group Major Lazer, making everyone get into the groove with Shweta Pandit singing along as the glamour-filled opening ceremony came to an end.