Kolkata: The 'City of Joy' opened its heart to the cricket world as a dazzling Bollywood-style opening ceremony kicked off the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League ( IPL) on Tuesday, with American rapper Pitbull and superstar Shah Rukh Khan stealing the limelight.
The city let its hair down with SRK, Katrina Kaif and Deepika Padukone grooving to the desi moves, leaving the healthy turnout at the Salt Lake Stadium enthralled.
It reached a crescendo when the evening's biggest attraction of them all, Pitbull, took to the stage.
The 120,000 capacity football stadium transformed into a magical kaleidoscope of Rabindra Sangeet, Bollywood dance, songs and, above all, unfettered enthusiasm as the 2013 leg formally opened with all the nine team captains taking the ICC Spirit of Cricket Pledge, 'Play hard, play fair'.
Flying drummers, Chinese percussionists, fireworks were the some of the other attractions that were on offer for the event.
After that a collection of balloons rose slowly and smoothly into the hot air above to the sound of drums, music and the cheers of people, with a performer carrying the winner's trophy.
The 1 hour and 45 minute extravaganza, which was high on entertainment, have surely made the 60,000-plus turnout forget the controversial build up cash-rich T20 league.
The opening though, at times, appeared to have fallen short of the standards Khan had promised prior to the event.
Divided into six segments, the evening began with Khan doing a poetic rendition of popular Rabindra Sangeet Aguner Paroshmani with the popular poetry 'Where the mind is without fear' being played in the background.
As is the tournament's wont, the build-up to this edition, too, had been blighted by controversies, but the gala opening has put to rest all apprehensions.