The Men’s Hockey World Cup got off to a mega start with Bollywood stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and music maestro A.R. Rahman entertaining the crowd at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday.
Amidst the stunning fireworks, the opening ceremony conveyed a powerful message of “oneness of humanity”. Madhuri, along with over 1000 artists including 800 students, mesmerised the jampacked audience with a theatrical production and dance ballet titled ‘The Earth Song’. The play was written and directed by Nupur Mahajan.
The crowd erupted in joy when Shah Rukh was taken in a procession in a Rath on the ground. King Khan had a special message for all the 16 teams participating in the sporting extravaganza. He even performed his famous ‘Sattar minutes’ dialogue from his film ‘Chak de India’.
Shah Rukh, who once played a hockey coach in the 2007 Bollywood flick, Chak De! India, recalled his days playing the sport. “I did play a little bit of hockey in school and college. I used to play as a centre forward, and right opposite me was obviously a goalkeeper,” he said.
Khan, keeping his promise with fans that he would be present at the opening ceremony, had some words of motivation for the audience and the 16 captains.
“This is the most important tournament of the world. Because it is our sport, it is our hockey and there is no more special game than field hockey. And what sets it apart is that it is an amalgamation of a lot of emotions, thought and lots and lots of action. It involves guile, strength and stamina. It is a sport that involves artistry. Players are not mere players, they are artists,” he said.