We are now backstage with SRK and Deepika. Gaurav asks Shah Rukh where he gets his energy from (yawn). Shah Rukh says he really can't dance, so he has to jump around and give the impression that he is doing well.
He is also thanks the IPL for giving him a chance to perform finally. Deepika says she had a great time and had lots of fun. "Being on stage gives you a different high", she says.
Gaurav tries to stir up some trouble by asking Deepika who she is going to support this year, Kolakta or someone else, but Shah Rukh jumps in and saves her by saying they support the IPL and whomever wins. Deepika bursts into laughter.
He also says he is glad to have brought some cheer to the city of Kolkata in his line of work.
That is hit for our coverage of the event, folks. Thanks for reading. And see you tomorrow for the first match between KKR and DD at 8 pm tomorrow night.
Pitbull talks about taking his life from a negative to the positive and wants the audience to give him "Everything They Got"
I actually like Give me Everything.
SRK, Katrina and Deepika are all out on stage as well now as Pitbull winds down. Pitbull kisses Deepika for good measure. He then thanks Shah-roookh and Katrina. And India. "Without the fans there is no movement".
That was interesting. Mr. Pitbull has left the stage but SRK, Katrina and Deepika hang around while fireworks go off all around the stadium while Gangnam style plays. No dancing though. Or lyrics.
'Mr Pitbull' makes his grand entrance - dressed in a black suit. Not sure "ooh, baby, baby," is going to get the crowd at the Salt Lake Stadium jumping. Some in the audience start to dance, but I am not sure how many people will be familiar with his work.
He is playing a medley of his hits, including International Love. He screams out "India, let's rap". The crowd is so far from the stage that it hard to hear any applause. He asks the crowd if they want to stop the party. Eventually a 'No' rises up from the audience.
Naturally, he launches into Don't Stop the Party. I am willing to bet not more than 10 percent of the audience would be able to sing along.
Here's a pic of SRK peforming:
Usha and Bappi-da start off singing Koi Yahaan Nache Nache. Mamata looks at Rajiv Shukla and appears to nod in approval.
Usha can't stop smiling. Bappi-da is wearing sunglasses, of course. SRK eventually ends up between the pair, dancing away. But even he is out of energy. Usha says thank you for having us.
SRK calls Pitbull 'Mr. Pitbull' again. That is now the second time in the history of the world he has been called Mr.
The jacket is off and SRK welcomes a group of little children on stage, all of whom have strings of flowers wrapped around their heads as the strains of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai fill the air.
Now we have moved on to Chammak Challo as Shah Rukh is surrounded by a bevy of female dancers.
Off the stage and onto the field now is our Shah Rukh. He is giving this his all. Then, almost completely out of breath, tells everyone the show is still not over. Then he says, "What can I say, the IPL has this much money so this is what you get".
He also introduces Bapi-da and Usha Uthup, calling them tiger and tigress and urges the audience to put their hands together, which nobody does.
There is now a cutout of a giant motorcycle that is lit up on stage. Yusuf Pathan's turn to look bewildered. The cutout engine of the bike opens to reveal SRK himself, dressed in black t-shirt and jeans and a biker jacket.
He opens, naturally, with Don.
He welcomes everyone to the City of Joy. Very little applause greets him. He thanks Mamata-di for allowing them to hold this ceremony. Even less applause. By the time he moves on to BCCI president N Srinivasan, there is no applause at all.
SRK says the IPL brings about a feeling of happiness "wherever we go". Calls Pitbull, "Mr. Pitbull". That is definitely the first time that has happened.
A giant shimmering curtain has descended at the back of the stage. Katrina is getting a lot more stage time than Dips. She is also moving a lot more freely than Dips did. Johan Botha of the Rajasthan Royals has a bemused look on his face. I don't blame him.
The host, Rochele, says that was amazing and the temperature has gone up 200 degrees. Again, the IPL is supposed to be family friendly.
And now it is time for the Bollywood portion of the ceremony. Deepika it is on stage, surrounded by dozens of dancers. She looks great but her dancing is a touch too wooden. There are many pillars of fire shooting up from the stage.
Brett Lee is watching with full attention though.
Katrina Kaif makes her appearance on a giant chariot wearing something like could be a golden gown and a crown and sort of waves to the crowd. She moves into Sheila Ki Jawanai - the lyrics of "touch me, touch me, touch me, kiss me, kiss kiss me" fill the air. Not exactly family friendly.
The gown has been discarded to reveal a red skirt and a short black top. She is being backed by men that I think are supposed to look like sunflowers. It is all a bit bizarre at this point. Wonder what Mamata thinks of all this.
Shastri is talking about the MCC Spirit of Cricket, which is somewhat ironic given all the allegations that have swirled around the IPL. Cricket should be played hard, and played to win, but not all costs, he says. MS Dhoni will be the first captain to sign the MCC's Spirit of Cricket pledge.
Dhoni is followed by Mahela Jayawardene, which is a nice juxtaposition given that Mahela will not be able to play against Dhoni in Chennai. All nine captains have now signed the pledge and Shastri wishes them all the best.
They are led off by a dancer in a shining silver outfit and white wig.
Now we have a violinist accompanied by drummers and modern dance. Bapi Da has no expression on his face while watching this performance but again the music is very good.
A number of large, lit up white balloons in the shape of cricket balls have been arranged in a circle. Each one has the logo of one of the IPL teams, with the center balloon being the Pepsi IPL. That is being raised up to a height now and has been joined to the other balloons by ribbons.
Now a girl floats across the stage with the trophy. She is hanging from an enormous collection of balloons. This is a bit gimmicky. The girl is lowered to the ground, where she hands the trophy to a non-smiling Gambhir. He walks across to place the trophy on a pedestal. then joins the other captains, who are standing in a line.
Drummers descend from the roof now as dances on stilts walk in the space between the stage and the crowd. Bengal chief minister Mamata Bannerjee is in attendance and watching with rapt attention.
Gymnasts take over the stage while the dancers continue to perform on the grass.
That was actually very tasteful and the drummers were very good.
The opening ceremony stats off with SRK reading Tagore's Where the Mind is Without Fear with Tagore’s ‘Aguner Poroshmani’ playing in the background. There are dancers in traditional Indian dress dancing to the poem as pillars of fire burst forth from the stage.
Bapi Da is in the crowd (of course) along with Usha Uthup and the two of them are going to be singing together. They give Gaurav a little taste of what is to come.
Host Gautam Kapoor is chatting with Gambhir and Dhoni on the pre-match show.
Dhoni: You don't think about defending the championship. You don't look too much ahead. You take it one match at a time. You don't take any extra pressure. WE kept it simple. Kept the meetings short and focused on the basics.
Dhoni says Gambhir is a very funny guy when he opens up, and Gambhir agrees that all he needs to do is open up. He is hopeful of a good start against Delhi Daredevils.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the IPL opening ceremony. It has been a rough build-up to the IPL, as usual. Let's face it, if things had gone smoothly, it would have been odd. The issue of the Lankan players and Chennai has been resolved, albeit to no one's satisfaction, except possibly the Chennai Super Kings.
But now it is time to put all that behind us. The matches start tomorrow, with the defending champion Kolkata Knight Riders taking on Delhi Daredevils, and we will once again have the dulcet tones of Ravi Shastri asking us if we are ready.
Tonight, the appetiser before the main course, is the opening ceremony, which will feature Bollywood superstars Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Deepika Padukone as well as American rapper Pitbull. Unfortunately, J-Low asked for too much from the BCCI, who were then forced to turn her down.
There will be a Bengal slant to the ceremony, of course, with the opening sequence set to Tagore’s ‘Aguner Poroshmani’ playing in the background as the teeny-boppers take to the arena in ‘Om’ formation, holding aloft torches.