Where was the Bollywood entertainment at IPL II?

By Fakir Hassen

Cape Town, April 19 (IANS) Where was the Bollywood entertainment or "taste of India" that the Indian Premier League had promised repeatedly in the run-up to the official opening of the tournament here Saturday night?

That was the question on the lips of many Bollywood fans at the colourful ceremony at a packed Sahara Newlands Stadium here, as a host of artists entertained the crowd with items as diverse as traditional drums from both countries and circus acts from Europe entertained them.

But the closest sign of anything Bollywood or Indian on the field, besides the teams, was a tabla being played by a South African artist accompanying the traditional African dancers on their drums.

Even the music featured in all the entertainment items did not have any Bollywood music in it.

Fans did get repeated glimpses of Bollywood stars and team owners Shah Rukh Khan and Shilpa Shetty on the big screens during the two matches, including the disappointment on Shilpa's face as she watched, together with her mother and sister from the suites, how the chances of her Rajasthani Royals team defending its title slipped away from the Bangalore Royal Challengers.

Shah Rukh was shown with his wife Gauri and their two children, at times Shah Rukh doting over his son as the latter made comments about the game.

But that was the closest that the fans got to see of Bollywood.

Off the field, there were very short interviews on television with the first two winners in the search to find the next new face of Bollywood from among South African girls.

The young women, identified by the interviewer only as Raeesa and Tasneem, both from Cape Town, just gave monosyllabic answers to the questions posed by him as they admitted to being Shah Rukh Khan fans and being "nervous" or "wow" about the possibility of starring in a movie with him.

A total of 50 winners will be chosen from the crowds at every one of the eight venues around the country that are to host IPL matches.

One finalist from each venue will be chosen, leaving eight winners to be hosted and feted at The Wanderers in Johannesburg at the final of the IPL 2009 tournament on May 24. The ultimate winner will be announced during the final.

IPL fans worldwide will also be able to cast their votes for the winner via the IPL website.

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