Thursday, September 16, 2010

azaan and religious chants at CWG inauguration


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: The opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on October 3 will have a bit of religious touch as sounds of the Azaan and Vedic and Buddhist chants will be played in the background as performers wearing costumes reflecting different aspects of the pluralist character of India present the theme song 'Swagatan' in different Indian languages.

The music approved by the Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by S Jaipal Reddy incorporates Hindustani, Carnatic and Quwwaali styles. The Rs 40-crore Aerostat will be projecting Gautam Buddha's image, props of the Eid celebrations, important monuments and themes representing various periods of the Indian history.

The opening ceremony which begins with the National Anthem will feature the "Great Indian Journey," split into three segments — Human Train, Gandhi and Celebration. The Human Train segment will present "the confluence of all aspects of rural India" while the Aerostat will show the sights visible from the window of a train while travelling through the rural India.

A flute recital of Gandhi's hymn "Vaishanv Jan To" and folk dances by some 800 performers on the rendering of a composition of Kabir are other highlights of the opening ceremony okayed by the GoM that wanted better presentation of Kabir's couplet (doha) as it found the phonetic clarity lacking. Yet another incorporation at the instance of the GoM will be a stanza from tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh's "Koi bole Ram, koi Khudai."

Bharat Bala, the creative head for the opening and closing ceremonies, made a presentation to the GoM at the last meeting, on behalf of the Games organising committee and assured to incorporate the suggested changes.

The closing ceremony again in the same stadium on October will end with "Vande Matram" played as 2000 children perform on the ground. Its highlight will be presentation of the Indian martial arts like Malkhambh of Maharashtra and Gatka of Punjab. The organisers had tough time to get the security agencies' clearance as the show includes use of sticks, swords and fire.

All from the participating countries will come together at the closing ceremony to depict "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (world is a family) while the last item on the agenda before "Vande Matram" will be a 30-minute "music of universal love" having segments from folk, sufi, popular and world music. The Bollywood stars like Shahrukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Kareena Kapoor among others have been approached to perform in this part of the ceremony. The GoM is, however, yet to clear names of the film personalities sought to be inducted as a crowd puller.

There was a bit of controversy in the GoM meeting over rendition of "Vande Matram" in modern style as produced by Bharat Bala and sung by A R Rahman in the late 1990s that became an instant chartbuster. The GoM decided that the "contemporary" version may hurt people's sentiments at it is a national song and better not to deviate from the original version.

Possible rains spoiling the opening ceremony continued to haunt the GoM at its meeting here on Wednesday because Viraf Sarkari of Wizcraft, the event managers, insisted that several segments will have to be cancelled or scaled down if rains continue.

"If the rain continues further, it would not be possible to build any stage and all the flying scenics would have to be dropped. Only ground-based choreography would be presented. It may also be difficult to present the different installations of the Great Indian Journey," sources quoted Sarkari telling the GoM. He even indicated difficulty in hoisting the Aerostat if the weather turns bad.

The rehearsals that had were to start at the venue from September 1 had to be deferred to September 22 because of the heavy rains in the capital and hence Sarkari has pleaded with GoM to allow the rehearsals up to October 2, just a day before the Games open. The security agencies are, however, not inclined to extend the deadline of September 30 for the rehearsals.

Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department is bracing up to issue 3-hourly forecasts of weather in Delhi during the Games. It has been issuing such forecasts for long for aviation sector and space launches. These will cover temperature, humidity, rain or thunderstorms as well as wind conditions — factors that could affect games. 


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