Persistent rain and thunderstorm did dampen the mood of thousands of fans gathered in the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata and millions others around the world who were waiting for the start of the Indian Premier League (IPL) opening ceremony.<p></p><p></p>Better late than never, the rain Gods had mercy on the fans and the eighth edition of the India kicked off at the City of Joy and it was indeed a glitzy affair as promised. While the crowd went berserk at every sight of the cricketers and Bollywood stars, the biggest cheer was reserved for the city boy and the new inductee to the IPL Governing Council member Sourav Ganguly.<p></p><p></p>The ceremony got off to a grand start with stars from the tinsel town Hritik Roshan, Shahid Kapoor, Farhan Akhtar, Pritam and Anushka Sharma performed popular Bollywood numbers amidst the dazzling lights and laser projections to the delight of thousands of spectators. The show was hosted by Saif Ali Khan, who has strong cricket connections, as he is the son of former Indian skipper Mansur Ali Khan of Pataudi.<p></p><p></p>Indian star batsman and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain Virat Kohli was seen savouring the moves as his girlfriend Anushka enthralled the crowd of 15,000 with her dance moves. The 26-year-old batsman seemed to blush at first, but was later seen smiling and enjoying the performance.<p></p><p></p>Earlier, seven of the eight captains of the IPL teams were present on the occasion as they signed the spirit of cricket bat to pledge their allegiance to the campaign. Indian ODI skipper M S Dhoni, who leads the two-time IPL winners Chennai Super Kings (CSK), was the first to sign the bat. The only captain who was missing from the occasion was Sunrisers Hyderabad's David Warner, who got married last week. His teammate and former captain of the franchise Shikhar Dhawan put his signature on the bat on behalf of the Australian.