Since 2008, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has developed a colorful hybrid of sport and entertainment bordering on sensory overload: “cricketainment.”
Tonight in New Delhi’s Salt Stadium, Bollywood megastar and Kolkata Knight Riders co-owner Shahrukh Khan has promised fans the highest form of cricketainment yet in the opening ceremony of the IPL 6.
What began as a quiet, rather genteel sport in the English countryside has evolved into something of Bollywood proportions.
Tonight gymnasts, cheerleaders, flying drummers, rhythm acrobats, air-tumblers, stilt-walkers and a troupe of 300 dancers will prance, jump and whirl through the air before legions of fans in what Shahrukh has said will be unprecedented.
“The opening night of IPL 2013 will be a spectacular ceremony, the likes of which India has never seen before," Shahrukh said. “I will be performing to some of my songs. Katrina Kaif and Deepika Padukone, two of my co-stars, will also be there. Pitbull, the international rapper, will also thrill the audiences.”
Last year, Katy Perry performed at the opening ceremony of IPL 5, while in 2009 rumors were swirling that a motley crew comprising Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman and George Michael would join forces alongside Snow Patrol at the IPL’s opener in South Africa.
Leading up to the IPL’s fifth season last year, an advertisement that cast top cricketers Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Kumar Sangakkara and Daniel Vettori in a carnival-like setting was making the rounds, giving an idea of the extent to which promoters are going to hype up India’s favorite game.
Alongside the glam of cricketainment, the IPL has also been plagued by a scandals and rivalry. Even Shahrukh himself has been banned from entering Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium. All of this lends an added element of drama to an already dramatic sporting event.