Bollywood stars to attend Ntitni’s farewell concert

Johannesburg: Bollywood stars, Shahrukh Khan, Anil Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra will bid farewell to retiring South African fast bowler Makhaya Ntini in a glittering concert in Durban on January 9 next year.

The 33-year-old pacer has decided to retire from all forms of cricket and the Bollywood trio will attend the concert, which will bid adieu to Ntini.

The New Age Friendship Celebration Concert will take place after a special Standard Bank International Pro20 match between the South Africa and India at the world class Moses Mabhida stadium, built especially for the FIFA 2010 World Cup.

The concert will bring the curtain down on the historic one-off event in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first Indian indentured labourers in 1860 to work on the sugar cane plantations in the then Natal province of South Africa.

The hosts of the event are Cricket South Africa and the recently-established TNA Media, started by the Gupta family, formerly from India. TNA Media owns the New Age daily newspaper that is expected to start publishing soon with support from the Times of India group.

The organisers have promised that the two-hour extravaganza will bring together the two universal passions of cricket and entertainment before an expected capacity crowd of about 60,000 people, making it the biggest to attend a cricket match in South Africa.

Negotiations were on for some top South African artists to also perform at the concert, which is being organised by talented teams, from Wizcraft and Cineyug, who have worked on some of the world’s biggest events, including the Commonwealth Games ceremonies in New Delhi, Indian Premier League events, and the IIFA Awards.

Cricket South Africa chief executive Gerald Majola said, “Cricket and Bollywood go hand in hand, and this historic event will not be complete without a star-studded concert, showcasing the best of South African and Indian entertainers.”

“Twenty-over cricket has brought an exciting new dimension to our sport, and entertainment plays a big role in attracting fans to the game. We hope that this experience will bring new supporters to cricket,” he added.

Gary Naidoo, managing editor at the New Age, said, “We are proud to be associated with this concert to celebrate the rich history and friendship between our two countries.”