Chennai, Apr 3: A spectacular mix of Bollywood razzmatazz and high-octane performances by International stars were the highlights of a glittering opening ceremony which set the ball rolling for the fifth edition of the IPL here tonight.
The glamour quotient was at an all-time high as a galaxy of stars, led by megastar Amitabh Bachchan, descended at the at the YMCA College of Physical Education and set the stage on fire with their performance.
Amitabh, returning to work after two abdominal surgeries earlier this year, started the proceedings for the evening with a rendition of a poem ‘If I were to be born again', written by renowned lyricist Prasoon Joshi.
The 69-year-old's baritone voice and inimitable style, coupled with a dance performance choreographed by Shiamak Davar at the background gave an apt start to the glittering ceremony, which set the stage for the 54-day extravaganza featuring nine teams.
South African percussion band First Project, composer DJ Ravi Drums and Colonial Cousins then took the stage and churned out their brand of music, setting the pulses racing.
Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra then enthralled the audience with her dance and heroics during her performance to the hit numbers from her films such as ‘Don', ‘Don 2' and ‘Kaaminey', which even saw India spinner Harbhajan Singh shaking a leg on the stage.
India's dancing sensation and Chennai's own Prabhu Deva then burned the dance floor with his power-packed performance where he danced to songs from films such as (Wanted) and ‘Hum Se Hai Muqablah'.
Two-time title winners, Chennai Super Kings then took the stage and Priyanka Chopra shared some light moments with the cricketers as she quizzed skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and also taught Australian Doug Bollinger and Indian spinner R Ashwin some dancing steps.
The ‘Chammak Challo' of the Tinsel town, Kareena Kapoor then set the heart racing with her dance numbers from films such as ‘Ra One' and ‘Agent Vinod'.
The opening Nite then saw the oath taking ceremony by the skippers of the nine teams, including retired Rahul Dravid and Australian Adam Gilchrist, as they signed the MCC Spirit of Cricket pledge.
Defending champions CSK skipper Dhoni placed the trophy back on the podium and BCCI president N Srinivasan and IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla then joined the players on stage.
“IPL has grown from strength to strength and has established itself as a premiere tournament. BCCI is extremely proud of this achievement. But who is the cause, first the commitment of the players both international and domestic, who participated in the event, the enthusiasm of the franchises and assistance of the supporting stuffs and the cricket fans in India and around the world have contributed to its great success. We expect IPL V to be no less,” Srinivasan said.
“We have not forgotten who played for us. The BCCI will give an one-time opportunity to cricketers who have graced Indian cricket—International cricketer as well as domestic cricketers who played from a long time. Over 185 players will be benefited from it and we will start the distribution from this year. It is a small thank you from us to those who have done yeoman service to Indian cricket,” he added.
Shukla then flagged off the fifth edition, saying: “It gives me a great pleasure to flag off the fifth edition of the DLF Indian Premier League, an arena where quality international and domestic cricketers take part in intense contest of strategy and skill. IPL is a platform where talent meets opportunity.”