There's nothing like the Brazilian vibe — and the opening ceremony for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, available as a live-stream on several channels, will feature samba, culture, diversity and history as the South American nation showcases its traditions and environmental riches.
The Olympic torch will be carried into the Maracana stadium in Brazil to light the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony of Rio 2016 on Friday, where interim president Michel Temer will pronounce the Games open.
India's flag-bearer, 2008 gold medallist Abhinav Bindra, will lead out more than 100 Indian athletes at the legendary stadium.
Indians can watch the ceremony on Star Sports and its HD channels. There will be eight dedicated SD and HD channels for the Rio Olympics. Hotstar will be the one-stop online portal for live-streaming the ceremony as well as the Olympics. The official Star Sports website will also be live-streaming the once-in-four-years spectacle.
The ceremony is set to start at 21:00 GMT, which would mean 4:30 AM (6 August) in the morning. For further information on events, athletes and medal tally click on the link.
But the opening ceremony won't feature the Indian women's archer contingent, who have their ranking rounds that take place on Friday. "We've a hectic schedule tomorrow and we cannot afford any slip-up in the crucial ranking round. We will catch it (opening ceremony) on TV," Dharmendra Tiwari, the Indian chief archery coach, was quoted by PTI.
The real controversy in the Indian camp though has come from the Indian hockey team, which has refused to be a part of the Olympic opening ceremony, after a spat between the team and the Indian Olympic Association has turned ugly.
There was an email sent by head coach Roelant Oltmans, who has complained about the lack of kits but Rakesh Gupta, India's chef de mission has insisted to India Today that the kits have been delivered two weeks back. Amongst all of this drama in the Indian camp, Brazil prepares for a lively opening ceremony.
"The world is very tense and so is Brazil. We are also willing to tell the world to stop attacking our home. The world is threatened because of global warming. We are calling for action," said Fernando Meirelles, one of the directors of the show.
But the climax of the show, the lighting of the cauldron, depends on whether Brazil's most famous athlete — soccer star Pele — appears. He said this week he was invited to take part, but business deals were stopping him from doing it.
On Wednesday, Pele told Globo television he had been invited to light the flame by the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach.
However, he said he had concerns over existing arrangements.
Doubts over whether Pele, 75, would be free to carry the torch to the cauldron in the Maracana stadium have been cleared up, spokesman, Jose Fornos Rodrigues, told AFP. The new question mark is over his health.
"Getting free is not a problem now, but he has muscle pain which is affecting his mobility. He has gone to the doctor to see how things are," the spokesman, also known as Pepito, said.
The Rio Olympics cauldron was designed by American sculptor Anthony Howe, who told Associated Press he was inspired by life in the tropics. There will be two cauldrons in Rio, one at the Maracana soccer stadium that is hosting the opening ceremony and another open to the public in downtown Rio. The cauldron in central Rio is expected to be lit by a runner after the opening ceremony is finished, Howe said.
The Indian contingent's dresscode has also been a mystery this year but as of now, it is rumoured to be a saree in crepe or chiffon draped in the colours of the Indian flag with a blouse and orange bindi for women, according to Indian Express. For men, a bandhgala in ivory colours with the tricolour on the chest and jodhpuris seems to be the official uniform for India at the opening ceremony.
Coming back to the main event of Friday, the Brazil opening ceremony doesn't plan to be as extravagant as compared to the 2012 London Games. The floor of the stadium will be a vast stage for projections, a substitute for more expensive structures in a nod to Brazil's economic troubles.
In all, 4,800 performers and volunteers will be involved in the show, which is built on three basic pillars of life in Brazil. Those are sustainability, particularly re-forestation; finding joy in life and in being Brazilian; and the idea of "gambiarra," the quirky Brazilian art of improvising repairs using whatever parts are available.
"Smile is the approach the Brazilians have toward life," said Marco Balich, the executive producer. "Brazil is not a grand nation. They're saying in this ceremony, we are who we are, with a lot of social problems, a lot of crises in the political system, etc."
"It does not have the grandiosity of Beijing, the huge special effects of Athens, the eccentricity and technological skills of London. It is an analogue opening ceremony," Balich said.
Space limitations in the Maracana also curbed the creative possibilities for the show. The stadium does not have typical Olympic dimensions — there is no track. The only Olympic events it is hosting are soccer matches.
"We had a budget way below what you would expect for an event of this type, but we are pretty used to working this way," said Daniela Thomas, a filmmaker who spoke with pride of the mix of thriftiness and creativity that Brazilians call "gambiarra".
"It's like MacGyverism," she added, a reference to the 1980s American TV show featuring Angus MacGyver, a resourceful secret agent who assembled ingenious devices from everyday objects.
Therefore prepare yourselves for a great South American-flavoured Olympics and the best way to possibly describe what one can expect was said by Meirelles.
"Athens was about the classics, Beijing was grandiose and muscular, London was smart, and ours - ours will be cool," said Meirelles, the director who made a Rio slum famous in the film "City of God."
Let the games begin!
First Published On : Aug 5, 2016 23:52 IST