Too many ideas, India seeks more time in closing ceremony

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Melbourne, Mar 24: Adhering to the time schedule has never been the trait of the Indian officials who are here struggling to get extra five minutes in the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games here on Sunday.

In the Indian scheme of things, even hours don't matter leave alone minutes and that too measly five minutes but here they are now realising what it means to sticking to the schedule and value of few minutes.

Delhi will host the 2010 Commonwealth Games and time has been allotted for a routine featuring Bollywood stars, including former Miss World Aishwarya Rai.

The Indians originally wanted 20 minutes, received 10, lobbied it up to 11 and then declared a 15-minute show. And this confusion between closing ceremony organisers and an Indian dance troupe has added tension to the event.

Ceremony chief Andrew Walsh made it clear yesterday that they would go by the ''laid down the law'' while chairman of Delhi 2010 organising committee Suresh Kalmadi promises a ''glimpse of India's rich culture and heritage in the 15 minutes allotted to us.'' The Indian team confirmed the routine will be 11-minute long, with the extra four minutes to include a flag-raising and handover ceremony.

''The Indian show will not only a be a Bollywood show but it will also showcase the vibrant Indian culture,'' Mr Kalmadi said.

Apart from Rai, other Bollywood actors like Saif Ali Khan, Lara Dutta and Priyanka Chopra along with singer Sunidhi Chuhan will take part in a show in which 400 artistes will be seen in action and it will be conducted by Shiamak Davar.

According to Mr Walsh, the closing ceremony would be an event that would reflect Melbourne.

''Where the opening ceremony was theatrical and ethereal, the closing is a celebration, it's a party, it's unashamedly Melbourne,'' he said.

About 50,000 tickets have been sold with 23,000 free tickets handed out to the ceremony cast and crew members and Games volunteers.

Games chief executive John Harnden said he was pleased with sales.

''The closing ceremony is one of those events that at most Games is never sold out,'' he said. ''What we want to do is we want to make certain 1) that it's jam-packed and 2) that if we've got the opportunity that we reward and recognise a couple of key groups.''

UNI

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