As Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Shashank Manohar declared IPL IV open, the audience went berserk. The decibel levels only increased as Ravi Shastri announced the name of Chennai Super Kings’ skipper MS Dhoni, who was the first to sign on the MCC Spirit of the Game banner. Only Sachin Tendulkar -- who else?! -- could match the Indian skipper in eliciting a huge response from the crowd.
The entertainment segment began on a promising note with three groups of dancers, painted in the colours of the national flag, putting up an elegantly co-ordinated show to the background of rhythmic sounds and lights before climaxing into an eye-catching Mexican wave. The show, however, soon slipped into the mundane. The performance by Taufiq Quereshi’s Mumbai Stamp failed to lift the spirits while lip-syncing rapper Raghav Mathur was equally disappointing.
The performance by artists bouncing up and down on trampolines and the antics by men hoisted in huge balloons and girls on stilts oscillated between the impressive and the comical. The remix version of the 1981 blockbuster song ‘Aa dekhe zara’ from the film Rocky by Mansi Scott and Co got the crowd going but the much-anticipated performance from singer Sunidhi Chauhan, who grooved to some of her popular Bollywood numbers ranging from Dhoom Machale to Dance Pe Chance Marale, lacked energy. An overenthusiastic emcee might have gone a bit over the top as he introduced Shah Rukh as the biggest entertainer in the world but the cine star, in his brief but energetic presence on the stage, provided the best entertainment of the evening. “Chennai, ellam seriya irukka? (Hello Chennai, is everything fine?)”, said King Khan as the crowd erupted in joy. Though he was lip-syncing, the crowd didn’t mind. After all, finally there was some local touch to the proceedings which had been stuffed with too much of Bollywood song and dance.
After getting the crowd on their feet with his super hit song Chak De, the actor was joined by actress Shriya Saran and the spectators went mad. And when the duo danced to Tamil hit numbers ‘Appadi Poda’ and ‘Naka Muka’, you knew the party had well and truly begun.