Kolkata: May 29, 2012
Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took the centre-stage at the celebrations of Kolkata Knight Riders' maiden Indian Premier League title win at the Eden Gardens stadium Tuesday, relegating cricketers to the background.
KKR co-owner Shahrukh, who is also the state's brand ambassador, had initially disappointed thousands of Kolkatans by not turning up for the victory parade which started in the morning from Hazra Crossing in the city's south.
The Bollywood Badshah let the players hog all the limelight during the roadshow but once he surfaced outside the state secretariat, it became a SRK-Didi show.
Outside the secretariat, Banerjee felicitated the team with bouquets of flowers and scarves, while KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir handed over the IPL trophy to Banerjee who held it aloft for the benefit of shutterbugs.
Banerjee also donned a cotton sari with purple border, which gelled with the Knight Riders' jersey colours.
It was then that Shah Rukh entered the scene, hugged the chief minister and also held the IPL trophy aloft with her.
They all later went to the Eden Gardens where the felicitation ceremony was organised.
At the Eden, Shah Rukh broke into an impromptu jig as rock band Bhumi played some of their famous songs. He danced in Bengali traditional style, then broke into bhangra and finally did some Goanese dance steps.
He also pulled in actress Juhi Chawla, who too like him is a part owner of the KKR, and both gyrated to the tunes of the band as the chock-a-block stadium roared in appreciation.
They later went up the stage and displayed various dance steps. The duo was joined by Bengali film heartthrobs Dev and Jeet and also some KKR players.
Meanwhile, Banerjee took over the microphone and donned the mantle of host. She asked for the national anthem to be played and then shouted out instructions to the police and urged the crowd to behave.
"I request the KKR players and owners to gather at the ground where Shah Rukh will cut the 'sandesh' cake," said Banerjee, inviting the team as also Governor M.K. Narayanan, who was present.
Narayanan presented the players, the support staff and the owners with scarves while Banerjee handed them a gold chain each.
"Shah Rukh, Juhi and Gambhir will cut the cake and we all will sing the team song "Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo re..." said Banerjee as both the co-owners and the skipper cut the cake amid deafening roar and applause.
At Banerjee's request, the bands sang the famous Bengali song "Dhitang dhitang bole..." as players, Shah Rukh and Juhi Chawla moved their feet to the tunes of the Hemant Kumar hit.
Later on, the KKR players with the team owners took a victory lap around the ground. Shah Rukh blew kisses and waved at the spectators whose numbers had far exceeded the sitting capacity at the stadium.
Shah Rukh thanked the people of Kolkata for their support to the team. He also made a demand of his Didi (Banerjee), which she said she could not fulfill.
"If we win next time, Didi will dance for us," Shah Rukh said to Banerjee. But she turned down the request, saying: "I can sing for you, but not dance."
Shah Rukh retorted: "Didi, Bengal may be yours but Eden is ours and here we rule."
Banerjee, however, took the banter sportingly and smilingly turned down the request.
Amidst all this, the KKR champion players in whose honour the celebrations were held found themselves relegated to the background as "Didi" and "Khan dada" turned the show-stealers.
Besides Banerjee and Narayanan, many Trinamool Congress leaders and ministers, including Railways Minister Mukul Roy, were present. (IANS)