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Prince Edwards sways to bhangra

At India Night, Delhi CM Shiela Diksh promised a good show when C'wealth Games comes to her city in 2010.
None | By V Krishnaswamy (IANS), Melbourne
PUBLISHED ON MAR 24, 2006 09:06 PM IST

Prince Edwards swayed to Punjabi bhangra at a star-studded India Night at the Commonwealth Games, the likes of which is rarely seen outside the country.

Over 400 local dancers trained for the past five weeks combined Bollywood's glitzy musicals numbers and Indian fashion beautifully to produce a night to remember on Thursday.

It was also a night when Prince Edwards swayed to electrifying bhangra, and Melbourne's first mayor of Chinese origin, John So, tucked into some spicy vindaloo.

Amid all this, Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit promised a show as good if not better than Melbourne's when the Commonwealth Games comes to her city in 2010.

Then there was the dancer-choreographer Shiamak Davar, who had put together a performance at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year.

His dance numbers from the super-hit Bunty aur Babli had the whole audience up and about, with even the sprightly 77-year-old Milkha Singh, the legendary Flying Sikh, getting onto the dance stage.

Ritu Beri's fashion segment and Meenakshi Seshadri's dancer numbers added to the glitter as thousands jostled outside the Town Hall to catch a glimpse of the Bollywood and sports stars.

Adding to the sporting touch was Sunil Gavaskar who, after a rather low-toned speech, rounded off with the fervent wish that India beat Australia in the 2007 World Cup final, much to the glee of the Indians in the gathering.

And there was tennis ace Vijay Amritraj recalling the days spent across the street at the Flinders Park, which was what the Rod Laver Arena was then called and where the annual Australian Open, the year's first Grand Slam of tennis, is played.

The India Night also featured PT Usha, Michael Ferreira, Olympic silver medallist shooter Rajyavardhan Rathore, Nafisa Ali and Pooja Bedi among others.

The function hosted by the Delhi 2010 organising committee had in attendance representatives of all 71 Commonwealth nations and the Australian and Indian governments as well as Melbourne games officials.

They all got a taste of what to expect during the Indian handover ceremony on Sunday, when there will more Indian stuff coming up in the special 11-minute segment.

Suresh Kalmadi, beaming from ear to ear with the roaring success of the night, did the job of a part-time master of ceremonies.

With him sat Prince Edward, Lord Sebastian Coe, John Harnden, CEO of Melbourne 2006, Justin Madden, the minister for Commonwealth Games, and a few others.

Shiamak Davar, who has performed for former US president Bill Clinton and choreographed Will Smith, provided a sparkling burst of Indian energy.

"We will gave all a glimpse of India's rich culture and heritage in the 11 minutes allotted to us (at the closing ceremony) and invite the athletes of the Commonwealth to attend the best ever games in 2010," said Kalmadi, chairman of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games organising committee.

The 11-minute ceremony at the Melbourne Cricket Ground promises to light up the sky.

Key performers in the segment included Saif Ali Khan, who shot an entire film, Salaam Namaste in Melbourne, film stars Aishwarya Rai, Lara Dutta and Rani Mukherjee.

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