Gala closing ceremony to draw curtains on National Games

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Tapan Mohanta

Ranchi, Feb 25 (PTI) The 34th edition of the NationalGames, which had a tumultuous build-up and a trouble-riddentough 15 days of competition, is all set to conclude with agala closing ceremony here tomorrow.

Bollywood heartthrob Katrina Kaif and singer Shaan''sperformances will be the highlight of the four-hour longclosing ceremony beginning 5pm as the Jharkhand OlympicAssociation has lined up a host of traditional and culturalprogrammes of Manipur, Punjab and Kerala.

In the final segment of the ceremony, about 180 artistsfrom Kerala, which is hosting the Games next year, willshowcase their cultural and traditional heritage in a12-minute segment. The Kerala segment will be directed bynational award winning filmmaker Shyamaprasad.

Sports Minister Ajay Maken is yet to decide on whether toattend the closing ceremony as he is apparently uneasy toshare platform with sacked Commonwealth Games OrganisingCommittee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi though the organisers heresaid he will be present here tomorrow.

Giving details of the ceremony, National Games OrganisingCommittee''s opening and closing ceremony sub-committeechairman N N Sinha told PTI, "It will begin with the pre-showat 4.45pm as the main programme will start after 5pm."

Fifty minutes'' slot has been allotted to the formal partof the show.

"Katrina Kaif and Shaan will perform separately towardsthe end of the programme. We have also called artists from thereality shows who will enthral the crowd," he said.

"There will be programmes from Jharkhand and Manipur folkartists while from Punjab we will have bhangra. A special song''Vidaai'' has been composed by folk artists and percussionistsand that will form the theme of the state''s cultural show," hesaid.

There will also be paika dance to celebrate the successof the Games.

The Manipur segment of the ceremony will includethang-ta, an ancient weapon-based martial art form of theMeiteis of Manipur.

The flag of the Indian Olympic Association will be handedover to the Kerala Organising Committee, to be led by KeralaOlympic Association President M M Abdul Rahiman and KeralaSports Council President T P Dasan.

In the Kerala segment, about 180 artists will displayracing boats, Chinese nets among others during the segmentbeside performing kalaripayattu, kathakali and mohiniattam.

National award winning music director Ouseppachan hascomposed the Kerala theme song -- ''Varika, Varika (Welcome tothe God''s own country) -- that has been penned by ShibuChakravarty.

"It will be a blend of old and new cultural heritage ofKerala. There will be feminine grace as well as masculinepower," said Shayamaprasad, who will direct the Keralasegment.

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