Amid the drama of collapsing infrastructure and filthy lodging facilities casting a shadow on the fate of the Commonwealth Games, thousands of artistes continue to rehearse for the opening ceremony on October 3, tipped to be a star studded affair. If all goes as planned, 6,000 dancers will change into 11,000 costumes and groove to Oscar winner AR Rahman’s tune during the three-hour hour ceremony, to be held at Delhi’s Jawahar Lal Nehru stadium.
“100 choreographers have been working on different performances. The rehearsals are now on in full swing at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium,” says Viraf Sarkari, executive producer and director, opening and closing ceremony, CWG. “Some of the legendary names in Indian classical dance, such as Sonal Mansingh, Birju Maharaj, Raja and Radha Reddy and Shovana Narayan, will also be part of it. The aim is to showcase India’s 5000–year-old-Indian culture.” “I promise that the show will be spectacular. I have been getting students from all over the country,” says choreographer for the ceremony, Shiamak Davar.
While it is speculated that Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan will attend the ceremony, the claim has not been confirmed or denied by the star. Britain’s Prince Charles and wife Camilla Parker are expected to be part of the grand affair.
Computerised gaslights, 32 high intensity projectors, a massive aerostat and loads of fireworks will add to the glitz. Designer Ana Singh, who is behind the 11,000 costumes designed for the ceremony, says, “The dresses are mainly Indian, with a bit of experimentation. We’ve used rich, vibrant colours and natural fabrics. 2,700 workers have been engaged. There is also a special segment made out of 10,000 metres of cloth — it’s a surprise.” Instead of a live host, a voice-over will connect the acts. The ceremony will be televised live on Doordarshan and other TV networks at 7pm.