Bollywood minstrels to mark IPL launch in Cape Town

By Fakir Hassen

Cape Town, April 15 (IANS) The streets of South Africa's carnival city will be awash with Bollywood stars in a different off-screen guise joining the famed Cape Minstrel groups on Thursday as the Indian Professional League (IPL) launches its assault here.

An IPL news conference scheduled for Wednesday was postponed to lunchtime Thursday, where IPL Chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi will be joined by Bollywood stars to announce "an important addition to the fun and excitement aspects of the event," the IPL said in a statement.

Shortly after the news conference, a major parade through the streets of central Cape Town will begin.

The parade will feature floats - one for each team and the IPL itself - and various teams of Cape Town Minstrels. Players and other celebrities will be on the floats.

For Cape Town fans of Bollywood, the spectacle will create the opportunity to see their stars in completely another guise.

Long favoured by producers and stars as a filming destination because of its beautiful locales and good weather, Cape Town has been seen in a few dozen Bollywood films already, with "Dil Ka Rishta" some years ago being almost totally shot there. The film was even shown to South African parliamentarians in a special screening because of the big boost it provided for tourism.

Some regular visitors to the city, like Akshay Kumar, have even been reported to have shown an interest in acquiring a holiday home in the city.

Now the Bollywood stars will be helping tourism to the city in another way - through their links with the IPL.

As they parade through the streets of Cape Town, the Bollywood stars will get a taste of the uniquely Capetonian art form practiced by the Cape Minstrels, colourful groups who for more than a century have been traditionally competing on New Year's eve by marching through the streets showing the skills that they rehearse all year long.

In shiny, colourful costumes that vie for attention from those lining the streets, the bands play popular tunes as their members chorus along.

Reliable sources said the usually jealously guarded programmes of each group have even made way for Bollywood tunes that are being rehearsed for Thursday's historic event.

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