Cinema and cricket will combine to make a heady mix when the Indian Premier League (IPL) debuts on Friday evening in Bangalore with superstar Shah Rukh Khan's Kolkata Knight Riders taking on flamboyant magnate Vijay Mallya's Bangalore Royal Challengers.
"IPL matches are going to be full of entertainment...larger than life. I believe it's my duty to entertain people whether it's in films or in the IPL matches," Shah Rukh Khan, the owner of Kolkata Knight Riders along with friend Juhi Chawla and her husband Jay Mehta, told IANS.
The glamour quotient will be complete.
According to Shah Rukh, Rani Mukerji, Bipasha Basu, Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan are expected to attend the first match on Friday.
Besides, Karan Johar, Arjun Rampal and Mehr Jessia, Karisma Kapoor, Malaika Arora, Priyanka Chopra, Amrita Arora are amongst the others who will be in Bangalore to see the cricket fiesta kick off.
Apart from inviting the proverbial galaxy of stars to cheer his team, King Khan has also launched an album "2 Hot 2 Cool" to promote the Knight Riders.
"Today, you need a heavy dose of glamour for marketing everything. And Bollywood stars largely help you in promoting a product or team for that matter," said Bappi Lahiri, who has composed the music for "2 Hot 2 Cool".
If Shah Rukh has himself as the mascot of his team, Mallya has stars like Katrina Kaif.
"When Vijay asked me to be part of this venture, I couldn't say no! I share a great rapport with them and I'm looking forward to be making appearances to cheer for the Royal Challengers. I hope the team lives up to the Royal Challenge too and wins against all odds," Katrina told IANS.
She will be performing along with Zayed Khan during the match, and has also been signed up for the promotional album of the team.
And Preity Zinta, co-owner of the Mohali team, Kings XI Punjab, has teamed up with Punjabi pop singer Daler Mehndi to record an anthem for her squad.
Also, Akshay Kumar will slip into his dancing shoes for the Delhi Daredevils and Hrithik Roshan will do a jig for the Mumbai Indians, owned by Mukesh Ambani, who have tied up with Yash Raj Films upcoming movie "Tashan".
A special video has been created featuring the on-screen merger of movie clippings and the fours pillars of the Mumbai Indians - Sachin Tendulkar, Sanath Jayasuriya, Harbhajan Singh and Robin Uthappa in place of Akshay Kumar, Anil Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan starring in the film.
The video aims at conveying the message that while stars set the silver screen ablaze, it would be cricketers enthralling viewers on the field.
There is more.
Chennai Super Kings, owned by India Cements, has roped in two popular stars Vijay and Nayantara as its brand ambassadors. And the famous Redskins Cheerleaders are in Bangalore to train the country's first professional cheerleading to egg on the Bangalore Royal Challengers.
Commenting on whether the real sport would be overshadowed by star presence, renowned trade analyst Taran Adarsh said: "At the moment the glamour might take away the media spotlight but later when the matches would be in full swing everyone would be concentrating on the game only."
Added TV anchor-director Sajid Khan: "It is great to see cinema and cricket together. I think it is a great trend and it has a great future because at the end of the day both of them are fields of entertainment and would benefit viewers."
Cricketers with rock star image have taken over the arena and nearly 100 international cricketers, commanding unheard of playing fees, have descended on India for the launch of the world's richest cricket league.
The mega Twenty20 tournament, sanctioned by the International Cricket Council (ICC), will feature eight city teams -- Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Jaipur, Chennai, Chandigarh and Hyderabad. There will be 59 matches on home and away basis in 44 days, very similar to the football leagues in Europe.