It wasn't like Diego Maradona or Oliver Kahn's visit to the Yuba Bharati Krirangan simply because the stadium was not even half full. But the one thing that epitomises star visits here was there: chaos. And even though the lensmen were kept at bay by a strong layer of private security personnel, there were still enough unwanted people around the star to obstruct a view from the stands.
The 50,000 that turned out to get a glimpse of World Cup Golden Ball winner Diego Forlan, barely got one. The two giant screens at the stadium displayed a recorded promo of the television channel featuring Bipasha Basu and not once focused on the Uruguayan star. Even after the exhibition match started and the pitch cleared away, from high up in the stands, Forlan sitting beside Brazilian 1994 World Cup winner Branco in the dugout, was barely visible.
So a Sunday evening that was supposed to be full of Forlan went just like any other match at the Yuba Bharati. The only thing different was a small stage at one corner of the synthetic tracks which fed the stands with a dose of loud music during the breather, courtesy Bangla band Bhumi.
A warming up to the occasion — the final of a football reality show “The Match” — to the lively beats of Anandan Shivamani too would have gone unnoticed had the percussionist not got down from the stage and led a posse of a hundred traditional drumbeaters to a lap of the stadium.
Things became slightly brighter when, just before the kick-off of the second half of the match featuring the 11 who had stayed on till the end of the reality show (The Challengers) against a Mohun Bagan XI, Forlan took the microphone and in between his well-rehearsed Bengali kicker of the channel thanked the crowd.
“I am overwhelmed to see you all here. Thank you all for the support,” he said and waved to the crowd.