A spectacular air show and a musical extravaganza with a dash of Bollywood marked the closing ceremony, which drew curtains on the controversies-ridden 34th National Games in Ranchi on Saturday.
After 14-days of intense competition, Hosts Jharkhand put up a glittering closing ceremony at the athletics venue of the Mega Sports Complex, even as country's top leaders decided to gave it a miss tonight.
After Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union sports minister Ajay Maken too skipped the ceremony at the last minute, apparently due to beleaguered IOA chief Suresh Kamadi's veiled attack on the sports ministry.
In absence of the top politicos, Kalmadi "declared the National Games close" as the political overtones dogged the closing ceremony.
Indirectly taking a dig at the political heads, Kalmadi quipped, "I'm not going to give anymore bhasan (speech). Enough of bhasan has already been given," as he went on to "declare the Games close."
With smiles and loud cheers all around, the spectacular ceremony lived up to the expectation at the jam-packed Birsa Munda Athletics Stadium in Mega Sports Complex in the outskirts of the city.
The best of the ceremony was preserved for the last part as Bollywood heartthrob Katrina Kaif danced to hit numbers that brought the entire atmosphere alive.
The four-hour long closing ceremony left an indelible impression on the people of Jharkhand.
"It was a lifetime experience for me. Right from the air show to the item numbers, it really made us proud of the state. I have never seen such a programme and I'm sure everybody liked it," Amit Kumar Jha, an enthralled volunteer, said.
The ceremony came as a balm for the Jharkhand Olympic Association who had received all the brickbats for the tumultuous build-up that had witnessed six postponements and a delay of four years after Guwahati hosted the previous edition in 2007.
Divided into a total of five segments, the four-hour long closing ceremony began with a spectacular air show by the airforce who enthralled the audience with some breathtaking performances over the stadium.
About an hour's slot was allotted to the formal part of the show that saw arrival of the dignitaries, formal speeches and announcement of the closing as the torch was put off and the Games flag was handed over to the representatives of Kerala, the hosts of the next Games.
There was a jumble march-past by all the participating athletes which signified their friendship and bond of togetherness. It was followed by speeches by the dignitaries.
Jharkhand Olympic Association chief R K Anand said, "People might be saying many things about the use of infrastructure but let me assure that it will be the hub of sporting activities even after the Games."
Virdhawal Khade and Richa Mishra were adjudged Best Male and Best Female athletes, while Raja Bhalendra Trophy for the champions were given to the Services Sports Control Board who topped with 70 gold, 50 silver and 42 bronze.
An audio-video feature film, 'Journey For All' marked the beginning of the cultural segment as school children performed 'Ye Desh Rangila' inviting loud cheers from the crowd.
There were also clippings of moments of glory, nail biting moments, sights and sounds of Jharkhand and rural to global transformation of the state that marked the show.
Percussion, wind and string instrumentalist of Jharkhand created a tune titled 'Wings of Aspiration' which was followed by Thang-ta, a martial arts presentation by Manipur and Giddha and Bhangra dances of Punjab.
Child prodigies, Hemant Brijwasi, Yatharth and Anamika Chuadhary, winners of different TV reality shows, performed separate Tri Colour Act before one shehnai, 100 dhaks, 100 nagaras (drumbeats), 800 paika (warrior dancers) and 66 dancers (33 pairs representing each dance forms) gave a special farewell tribute, aptly titled 'Bidaai'.
In the final segment of the ceremony, about 180 artists from Kerala showcased their cultural and traditional heritage in a 12-minute slot directed by National award winning filmmaker Shyama Prasad as they rendered 'Varika Varika' (welcome to Kerala).
Shaan's mesmerising crooning performance brought the atmosphere alive as a spectacular laser show lit up the evening, while 'Katrina Kaif Live' became the buzzword of the ceremony that closed with a spectacular fireworks dazzling the Ranchi sky.