A grand and glittering opening ceremony heralded the start of the Pepsi IPL 2013 in style at Kolkata’s Salt Lake Stadium. The venue resembled a star-studded galaxy with embellished lightings, the world’s cricket stars and performing entertainers.
Renowned artists from the entertainment industry, the likes of international rapper Pitbull and Bollywood actor and co-owner of the Kolkata Knight Riders, Shah Rukh Khan, along with Katrina Kaif and Deepika Padukone owned the stage and held sway over the packed audience. Besides the celebrities performing, the stage was also set on fire by flying drummers, Chinese percussionists and breathtaking fireworks.
Amid all the glitz and glamour cricket held its limelight in a suave and dignified way. The captains of the nine teams participating in IPL 2013 took centre stage when they joined hands to pledge adherence to the belief, ‘Play hard, Play fair’ by signing on the MCC Spirit of Cricket board. Former India cricketer and current commentator, Ravi Shastri administered the oath.
The moment that surprised and stunned close to 45,000 people present at the stadium came just before the captains signed the MCC Spirit of Cricket oath. A girl clad in white appeared over the arena, swinging a bunch of colourful balloons, carrying the Pepsi IPL 2013 Trophy. She stopped at the centre and handed over the trophy to the captain of the current holders, Gautam Gambhir.
Salt Lake Stadium, one of the biggest football arenas in Asia, was packed and alive with the noise of passionate fans. The people of Kolkata reserved the loudest cheers for their adopted son and captain of KKR, Gautam Gambhir and team owner, SRK.
The Bollywood superstar began his performance by thanking the West Bengal chief minister, Mamata Bannerjee, BCCI President, N Srinivasan, IPL Chairman, Rajeev Shukla and IPL COO, Sundar Raman for their presence at the event.
He then set the arena on a foot-tapping mode by dancing to a few hit numbers from his movies. He also displayed some of his moves to the tune of well known Bengal musicians, Bappi Lahiri and Usha Uthup.
The last performance of the day was from Pitbull, who engaged the crowd and started a party. The Pitbull show lasted well into the evening after the Opening Nite was over.
Those who attended the event, it was an evening that culminated with tired feet, sore throats and memories of an unforgettable time at Salt Lake Stadium!