Bollywood stars, business honchos, politicians expected at IPL finalMay 20th, 2009 - 4:38 pm ICT by IANS
By Fakir Hassen
Johannesburg, May 20 (IANS) The Indian Premier League (IPL) final at the Wanderers Sunday will see the who’s who of India rubbing shoulders with their South African counterparts at an unprecedented gathering here.
Although organisers are tight-lipped about the guest list, top Bollywood stars and captains of Indian trade and industry as well as Indian politicians are expected to hog the limelight.
As organisers scramble to find accommodation at the Wanderers for the huge contingent of Indian celebrities expected, the IPL even withdrew the accreditation of some journalists for the semi-final and the final to allow space in the media centre for the guests.
Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta and Shilpa Shetty have been present at IPL matches to cheer their teams. Now a host of other celebrities do not want to miss out on the razzmatazz.
Bollywood stars Kareena Kapoor, Akshay Kumar, Rani Mukherjee and Bipasha Basu will join the troupe of world-renowned choreographer Shiamak Davar alongside the pyrotechnics and laser show for what promises to be a spectacular closing ceremony.
Many other movie stars, including from southern India, are brand ambassadors for some IPL teams and are likely to be seen at the final.
They include Katrina Kaif, Deepika Padukone, Ramya and Upendra (Bangalore Royal Challengers); Juhi Chawla, Arjun Rampal, Sajid Khan, and Farah Khan (Kolkata Knight Riders); singer Daler Mehndi (Kings XI Punjab); Vijay and Nayantara (Chennai Super Kings); Ila Arun (Rajasthan Royals); Hansika Motwani (Deccan Chargers); and Hrithik Roshan, Saif Ali Khan and Anil Kapoor (Mumbai Indians).
While some stars may miss out because of their shooting schedules, many have made prior arrangements to be at the Wanderers.
On the business front, liquor Baron Vijay Mallya of the UB Group, who also has interests in South Africa and is listed by Forbes as the seventh-richest man in the world, will certainly be here to cheer his Bangalore Royal Chargers if they make it to the final.
Mallya missed the opening ceremony in Cape Town because he had already committed to joining his Formula One team - Force India - for the Chinese Grand Prix.
Mukesh Ambani, whose family is the fourth-richest in the world, will be hoping to see his team Mumbai Indians, which he bought for $111.6 million, in the final.
Although organisers were unwilling to divulge names for security reasons, some of India’s foremost politicians are also expected to attend the gala finale of the five-week spectacle that has taken South Africa by storm.
There are rumours that newly-elected South African President Jacob Zuma will head the list of local dignitaries.
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