The row over timing of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony was resolved today with the Group of Ministers deciding a 7 pm start for the event.
'The issue has been resolved and the opening ceremony will start at 7 pm,' Shyam Benegal, a prominent member of the creative group, said after a meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) on the October 3-14 mega event in New Delhi today.
The creative group, which conceived the ceremony, had initially planned a 7.30 pm start since the laser show and pyrotechnics would require darkness for maximum effect.
The Organising Committee of the Games, however, told them that it had signed a deal with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that stipulates a 5.30 pm start for the opening ceremony.
The creative group was livid because they were not informed beforehand and it upset all their plans since laser shows and pyrotechnics would look a joke in day light.
Benegal was so angry that he shot a letter to the GoM, demanding why the creative team was not told about the deal earlier.
'Which audience is more important to us, our own or Australia's?' Benegal asked.
The GoM meeting on Saturday, chaired by Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy, solved the issue and decided that both the opening and closing ceremonies, to be held at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium would start at 7 pm.
Asked how the GoM dealt the ABC issue, adman-cum-lyricist Prasoon Joshi, a member of the creative group, said, 'Why rake up the issue when it has been resolved? What is important now is that the show timing is 7 pm.'
'The two-and-half hours' show will be spectacular and will have many surprising elements. We are not giving details but it would be worth watching,' Joshi said after the meeting, adding the ceremony would consist of laser show, cultural event and many other things.
Poet-lyricist Javed Akhtar is another member of the team of which Bharat Bala is the creative director.
Tourism Minister Kumari Selja, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Tejinder Khanna and Sports Ministry officials were present on the occasion.