The fifth edition of the Indian Premiere League may be under a money crunch with sponsors contemplating pulling out of the event, but that didn’t stop the organisers from putting forth a big-ticket opening ceremony on Tuesday. That, however, was no saving grace — lacklustre performances and the typical Bollywood lineup, inspite of the presence of American pop star Katy Perry, spoilt it for them.
Despite acts by Perry, Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra, and others by Colonial Cousins, DJ Ravi Drums, South African percussionist group 1st Project and Prabhu Deva, the show, held at Chennai’s YMCA College of Physical Education, is being slammed by fans. It was a “typical lengthy exorbitant Bollywood ceremony,” says Rob Singh, an ardent cricket fan. “Where did they get so much money for such crap?” says Shilpy Garg, 22.
While industry sources say Perry was paid over R7.5cr for her performance, she was also put up in a royal suite in a top five-star. Kareena was flown in on a private jet from Bangkok, a to and fro trip that reportedly cost no less that R20 lakh. Salman and Big B pocketed around R3.5 crore and R2 crore respectively, while Kareena and Priyanka reportedly took home about R1.5cr each.
The organisers of the ceremony, Wizcraft Entertainment, are tight-lipped about the total cost of the event, but its director Sabbas Joseph says, “It was not much of an expenditure ... It is the largest cricketing event in the world and it has to have all the razz matazz. It is on the right track.”
He adds: “It’s just that this time, it looked larger than life.” Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt is not surprised. “IPL’s always been more about spectacle than sport. It is entertainment and not cricket,” he says.