Monday, August 2, 2010

Reality CWG ceremonies


Cash crunch hits Games ceremonies

By: Surender Sharma
As the Commonwealth Games come closer, everyone seems to be chanting the money mantra. Now the creative group working for the opening and closing ceremonies of the event has decided to do away with some of the frills and thrills that were expected to be on show because of escalating costs. The Commonwealth Games Federation had allocated a budget of Rs 300 crore for the ceremonies.

The newly inaugurated Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi where
the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Commonwealth Games
are to be held. file pic

"Certain elements have to be downsized or cancelled which include the Commonwealth Games mascot, Shera segment if Rs 75 crore more are not approved for the creative group," some members reportedly told the group of ministers in a recently held meeting which was headed by Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy. 
Sources said, due to cost overruns, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is non-committal to providing additional funds. Most recently, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said no to a CGF request for Rs 100 crore as donation.
When contacted, danseuse Shovana Narayan, who attended the meeting with the GoM in the capacity of Special Director General in the Organising Committee, refused to comment on the issue. Official spokesperson, for the Organising Committee, Lalit Bhanot, who promised to revert back, did not respond to repeated calls. 
Around nine thousand artistes including A R Rahman and Katrina Kaif are likely to participate in the opening and closing ceremonies. "There is further requirement of Rs 75 crore which will be incurred on boarding and lodging of the performers," Shovana Narayan reportedly told the Group of Ministers recently in the meeting, demanding more funds for the creative group.
For the one hour opening ceremony, the stage has been created by famous set designer Omung Kumar. Unlike the FIFA World Cup where everyone danced to the tunes of Shakira, opening and closing ceremonies of Commonwealth Games will have no foreign influence and are being pegged as truly Indian affairs. Six classical dance forms, martial arts and sounds from the bazaars - it will be India all the way at the two ceremonies.
An Australian firm Howard and Sons who were behind the pyrotechnics at the Melbourne Games are set to repeat their performance here. The CGF has roped in famous Delhi-based fashion designers, Ashima and Leena Singh, to design costumes for the ceremonies. A Rs 40-crore helium blimp - a big balloon with lightings and mounted cameras is also to be imported for the opening ceremony.

Headed by Bharat Bala, the creative team includes Shovana Narayan, Prathibha Prahlad, Uma Ganapati Raju, T S Darbari, Javed Akhtar, Shyam Benegal and Prasoon Joshi
The first eight minutes of the opening ceremony are being taken care of by ace percussionist Taufiq Qureshi, who is known for his exotic style of intricate rhythm structures on instruments like the djembe, duff and the bongos. The theme for the first eight minutes is 'The Great Indian Bazaar' where the audience will get a feeling of "how Indian streets sound like", says Qureshi. This will be followed by voices of Baul and Naga singers and sounds of bamboo dancers. The next 15 minutes will have 480 artistes divided into six groups of 80 dancers each performing six Indian classical dance forms -Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Mohiniattam and Manipuri. The theme here will be 'Indian seasons'. A R Rahman, who is composing the anthem for the Commonwealth Games, will also be performing during the ceremonies. The one-hour ceremony with almost 9,000 artistes, dancers and musicians will also have the traditional march of participating countries led by 2006 host Australia.
The closing ceremony will be more about India's martial art forms. This will include Kerala's Kalaripayattu, Punjab's Gatka, Manipur's Thang-ta and Tamil Nadu's Silambattam.

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