From the team captains being taken on rickshaws around the field, to the dancers, to Sabina Yasmin, Momtaz, and Runa Laila’s singing, to the final theme song and fireworks, it was a real grand show. Hopefully, in another 4 years, we can lean back and say, “That’s nice, but the ceremony we had in Bangladesh for the tenth World Cup - now that was something!”
“The wall cricket was amazing! That and Bryan Adams were the best parts of the show,” said one viewer. To recap, for those of you who had your cable line sabotaged in the middle of the ceremony: highlights include the beautiful automated kites, the acrobats scaling the side of the neighbouring Shilpa Bank Building in a rendering of the cricket pitch and game, and Bryan Adams singing the very three songs that are best known in Bangladesh: “Summer of 69″ “Let’s Make a Night to Remember” and “18 till I Die”. And a very elaborate, well-executed dance by the Sri Lankans - yes, there were other dances, from Bangladesh and from India, but the Sri Lankans outdid the others with their ship and giant oyster.
Speeches from the chief guests were all succinct and to the point, with the Bangladesh Cricket Board President expressing his gratitude to the states hosting the event and the International Cricket Council President ending with “Bangladesh Zindabaad.”
There may have been a crooked lotus or two out there and a few questionable wardrobe choices - one of the most striking being Sonu Nigam in a silver faux snakeskin coat and black waistcoat, exposing an unnecessary amount of chest - but in general everyone carried themselves through beautifully. It was definitely a night for everyone to be proud of Bangladesh and inwardly relieved that nothing took a politically significant motif.
Plus the official song for the 2011 World Cup is very catchy. Performed by Shankar-Ehsan-Loy, “De Ghumaa Ke” has verses in Hindi, Bangla and Sinhalese. It’s no “Waka Waka”, but still a fun rhythmic song to dance to, and definitely beats the Commonwealth Games anthem. The fireworks began halfway through the song, and that marked the end of a really well-orchestrated evening.
Just a side note on fun things the government has done to make sure this event went over well: paid off all the neighbourhood beggars to stay away from the visitors, and sent out Dhaka City Corporation officials with mosquito repellents into the ditches surrounding the hotels and stadiums, so that our visitors would not be bitten by mosquitoes. Wonderful gestures that we, (mostly) tax-paying citizens of the nation, of course do not merit. Our hides are used to mosquito bites and warding off beggars.
The only people in the audience who didn’t seem to appreciate the spectacles at the opening ceremony were the team captains, who all looked very striking in suits, but extremely grim as they observed all the song and dance. Quite a contrast to all the ministers and cricket authorities who were clearly absorbed and enjoying all the festivities! Presumably the pressure is already on for the first games: on Saturday, Bangladesh versus India, and on Sunday, Kenya versus New Zealand and Sri Lanka versus Canada. Anyone care to predict outcomes? The games are officially on!