Ranchi, Jan. 28: An agreement was signed today with Cineyug for organising opening and closing ceremonies for the National Games with the Mumbai-based event management company promising to up the glamour quotient by ensuring performances by Katrina Kaif along with either Kareena Kapoor or Priyanka Chopra.
After failed negotiations with Wizcraft, another Mumbai-based entertainment firm, the National Games Organising Committee (NGOC) signed the deal with Cineyug for Rs 10.50 crore.
Special secretary (sports) N.M. Kulkarni told The Telegraph that the three-hour opening ceremony on February 12 would feature performances by either Priyanka Chopra or Kareena Kapoor and singer Sukhwinder Singh of Chak De! India fame.
For the two-and-a-half-hour closing ceremony on February 26, Katrina Kaif and singer Shaan would be the star attractions.
Cineyug will confirm in a day or two who among Priyanka Chopra and Kareena Kapoor will take part in the opening ceremony, Kulkarni said.
If the Bollywood invasion livened up spirits of organisers, battling a tight deadline amid reports of a litany of problems at various sporting venues, news that President Pratibha Patil was unlikely to make it was a dampner of sorts.
The First Lady was invited by chief minister Arjun Munda, but now the state government is trying hard to ensure the presence of vice-president Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the opening and closing ceremonies respectively.
According to Kulkarni, the opening ceremony will comprise a presentation by an Army band, a shower of petals by Army helicopters and a march past led by veteran sportspersons of Jharkhand followed by other national and international sports stars.
The event management company will pay a performance-based tribute to tribal icon Birsa Munda during the opening ceremony. Besides, it will present an audio-visual show on the legendary Jaipal Singh and other sports heroes of Jharkhand, he added.
The closing ceremony will include a drill display by children, folk dances and laser shows and a fireworks display, apart from celebrity performances.
Also, CMG Group of Calcutta will be holding cultural shows for participants everyday from February 14 to February 25 for an hour in the evening. NGOC had negotiated Rs 9.95 crore with Wizcraft, which quoted Rs 12.78 crore in response to a tender last month. In 2008, Wizcraft had asked for Rs 8.65 crore.
For Cineyug, we decided to pay an extra Rs 55 lakh as it offered Grade A artists while Wizcraft had offered to provide B Grade artists only, Kulkarni said, explaining what finally clinched the deal.
However, NGOC had other problems. For, as many as 250 folk artists of the state hit the streets of Ranchi today in protest against the composition of the newly-constituted sub-committee for organising cultural functions during the Games.
Under the banner of All Jharkhand Artist Association, the group demanded the inclusion of several of their colleagues including Pawan Rai, Pankaj Rai, Monika Munda, Mitali Ghosh, Sarita Devi (folk singer), Majbool Khan (folk singer), Manoj Saheri.