Sunday, 2 May 2010

Australia wants to advance CWG opening ceremony

Two Australian TV channels that have purchased the sporting event's telecast rights are forcing the Organising Committee (OC) to advance the opening ceremony timing on October 3.

The OC has already requested the government to start the opening ceremony at 5.30 pm and instead of 7 pm as decided earlier. This is to suit primetime viewership in Australia.

The organizers and participants of 2010 Commonwealth Games are not amused. "The whole point of having laser shows and fireworks will be lost if it is going to be held in daylight. Such shows will only look good only after sunset," sources said. According to weather websites, the official sunset time for October 3 in New Delhi is 6.10 pm.

Another major reason against beginning the opening ceremony at 5.30 pm is a special tunnel that has been constructed at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. The 107-metre long tunnel, which leads to the centre of the stadium, is a surprise element. The audience will suddenly see artists in the centre of the stadium without knowing where they came from. This element of surprise would be ruined in broad daylight when the tunnel would be visible, the sources said.

"So much money has been spent on the tunnel. All that will be wasted if the timing is advanced" they added.

With the government having sanctioned close to Rs 150 crore for the opening and closing ceremonies, it's obvious that a lot of attention will be focused on these events.

Many artistes have already alerted the group of ministers ( GoM) in charge of the Games and they are expected to take a final call on the matter. Four months ago, it was the GoM that had approved the opening ceremony timing as 7 pm.

The Prasar Bharti officials are also unhappy about the Australian demands." The Beijing Olympics opening ceremony on August 8, 2008, began at eight minutes past 8 pm. Four years ago, when the last Commonwealth Games was held in Melbourne, Indian artistes had wowed the audience with a wonderful performance at the closing ceremony," said a Prasar Bharti official who has been part of the official team during the last three Olympic and Asian Games.

Ironically, the opening and closing ceremonies at the Melbourne Games had started much after sunset.

"We should not allow the channels to dictate terms. So what if they have paid $300 million for telecast rights. We should stick to the original time," the official said.

At the Games opening ceremony, around 5,000 artistes from across the country are expected to be part of the show for which they will train close to five months.

After a lot of ruckus, permission was granted for the Army parade ground in Delhi Cantt to be used as housing station for these artistes.

The organisers will also spend close to Rs 5.5 crore on A. R. Rahman for the opening ceremony song.

The opening ceremony will also see a helium- filled balloon with special light effects. And it has cost a whopping Rs 40 crore.

"The timing issue is going be top priority for the GoM meeting next week," a top official said.


Samuel said...

Great India!! Lets show the world that India is potential...

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