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The IPL began with one of the worst opening ceremonies you can spend a fortune on. Hopeless bits of action, strange choices of famous faces and a bored audience preceded an ember-raining fireworks display just above my head. 1996’s blowing laser show still had some class.

The weird extras

The evening started the way it turned out, rather tepidly. There were songs and dances from people you wouldn’t really care about on a cricket stadium. The balloon curtain that was to unravel each of these guys stood like a wart in the pavilion end of the stadium. The stage was set there as well which meant 80% of the ground had only the backs of the performers in sight. An amazing scene was however the innumerable weirdly-dressed support extras. They looked like a cross between nursing school students and former Ku Klux Klan members on the mend. Who gets these ideas?

The first of many appearances of Mr. Modi

There was UB40, apparently. Abba, maybe. Lionel Richie, for sure. Deepika Padukone, for god’s sake. I was standing at the other end of the ground and was so happy when they put a white screen for the upcoming laser show in front of me. That was exactly the time Padukone made her appearance. 20 seconds of that on the big screen made me thank those laser show guys. Think of it: this is Mumbai… well Navi Mumbai. But it still is close enough to the place which has produced most Test cricketers in India. And who do we see in the opening ceremony?

Just so out of focus

We cannot even start comparing it to Cape Town’s opening ceremony last year. It was so much fun. Even that was a circus, but a bloody good one at that. The ground was full too, unlike here. It cannot have been any more expensive than this.