The Indian Premier League (IPL) season five starts on April 4, with a grand opening in Chennai. The second match of the league, played between Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Delhi Daredevils, is scheduled for April 5 at the Eden Gardens.
Actor Shah Rukh Khan, owner of KKR, has added a local element to his team, at least as far as the cheerleading squad is concerned. “SRK, being the brand ambassador of West Bengal, wanted the flavour of the state in his team. As cheerleaders, only girls from Kolkata will perform,” says Vishal Kanoi, choreographer of the KKR cheerleading team.
Kolkata-based Vishal has had vast experience in training local students in various dance styles. The 12 cheerleaders were selected from the thousands who auditioned all across Kolkata. Vishal says, “Models, dancers, students and others came for auditions, which were judged by me. They did freestyle dancing for 30 seconds after which we started short-listing candidates. Final selections were done by the KKR management.”
Kanoi adds, “You can expect a regional touch to the entire cheerleading package.” Vishal will also choreograph the opening ceremony of KKR’s first match. “It will be done keeping in mind the sport, the city and brand KKR itself. SRK wants the best for his team in terms of game play and entertainment.”
KKR’s Kolkata opening ceremony will also showcase performances by dhaak (traditional drum) players and chhau dancers (tribal dance practiced in Bengal, Orissa, Jharkhand) along with a surprise flashmob in the stadium.