In just a matter of four minutes and 40 seconds, four 500-metre long pieces of white fabric was turned into a spectacular mehendi art by over 1,000 schoolchildren.
The exquisite idea was the brainchild of a British choreographer who suggested it to the creative team of the Organising Committee (OC) on how to make best use of mehendi art in the show.
“We wanted to use mehendi but did not know how. The British choreographer, Bryms (who goes by first name), suggested it and it turned out to be spectacular. Children used watercolours and sponges to make the design. There were white markings on the cloth, making it easier for the children to complete it in time and with precision," said Bharat Bala, the creative director of the opening ceremony. The children carried the fabric over their heads.
Bala added that the children practised for 60 days to get the designs right on the opening ceremony. The mehendi art was part of "Swagatam" performance by children from government schools.
The sand impression of Mahatma Gandhi was done by Sudarshan Patnaik — an internationally acclaimed artist. While the sand impression was reflected on the aerostat, a 25-m fabric showcasing Gandhi's contours was hung from it at the end of the performance.
“The sand impression was done on the spot by the Orissa-based artist as we wanted to include Gandhi in the opening ceremony. The fabric that was lowered down from a height of 25 metres already had the contours of Gandhi on it,” said Shyam Benegal, member of the creative team.