New Delhi: It’s a total bandh in the subcontinent. An array of politicians, leaders, movie stars, industrialists and “aam” cricket fans are waiting with bated breath for the edge-of-the seat encounter between India and Pakistan in Mohali, Wednesday.
Everybody wants to be there at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium at 2.30 pm today, but very few are lucky enough to be at the venue to cheer for the Men in Blue.
Apart from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, his wife Gursharan Kaur and Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who is the chief guest; the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi will be present along with her son Rahul; daughter Priyanka and her husband Robert Vadra.
The galaxy of political leaders who might make it include Union ministers P Chidambaram, Sharad Pawar, Farooq Abdullah, Praful Patel, Sachin Pilot, Jyotiradiyta Scindia and Jitin Prasada amongst others. Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, BJP leader Arun Jaitley, BJP MP Anurag Thakur and Governors of several states will also applaud from the special VIP enclosure, especially set up to “accommodate” everybody.
The Siamese connection is at work again. Bollywood and cricket are incomplete without each other and that’s more than evident by the frenzy that has gripped the tinseltown and its denizens.
It’s pack-up after noon today for the film wallahs. Although everybody is willing to do anything to get hold of a ticket, only a select “connected” group of stars have been able to grab a chair to catch the Dhoni-Afridi face-off live.
Top on the list is Mr Perfectionist Aamir Khan. He will be in Mohali along with his wife Kiran “Dhobhi Ghat” Rao. Bubbly actor and owner of the IPL team ‘Kings XI Punjab’, Preity Zinta will be present at the stadium – the home ground of her team.
Adding to the glamour quotient would be another sizzling B-Town siren Shipla Shetty.
The macho gang would be led by self-professed cricket fanatic Suniel Shetty and his brother-in-arms Arbaaz Khan, Anil Kapoor and Vivek Oberoi.
There’s buzz that Deol troika –Dharmendra, Sunny and Bobby – may also show up.
The filmi gang may also include others like Madhur Bhandarkar, Vindoo Dara Singh.
“Khiladi” Akshay Kumar was rumoured to have been personally invited by Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, but it’s yet unclear whether he would be there to witness theatrics of a different kind.
Intriguingly, the powerful Shah Rukh Khan camp has decided to completely give the “can’t miss” party destination of the season, a miss.
The Badhsah of Bollywood would be praying for the Men in Blue from his “Mannat”. He is throwing a party at his home and has invited his close friends like Karan Johar, Arjun Rampal and others to watch the match with him.
Some of the biggest names in India Inc have already secured their seats to witness the epic encounter.
Leading the pack are the Ambani brothers, Mukesh and Anil. The richest Indian, Mukesh Ambani, has also, already, booked three corporate boxes at Mumbai’s Wankhede for the final by spending Rs 5 crore.
The other business honcho who is, by default, expected to be there in the front row is Vijay ‘Kingsize’ Mallya. He will be there with his son Sidharth Mallya and other members of his glam entourage.
Steel tycoon Laxmi Naresh Mittal, Essar Group’s Sashi Ruia and Ravi Ruia, Analjit Singh of Max India, JSW’s Sajjan Jindal, Munjal’s of Hero, Raymond’s Guutam Singhania, Citibank head honcho Pramit Jhaveri, Deutsche Bank’s chief country officer Gunit Chadha, Deepak Parekh and Keki Mistry of HDFC, Fortis Healthcare chairman Malvinder Singh and Yogi Deveshwar of ITC are among the business leaders who will be present in the exuberant best to cheer up Team India.