Shruti Indira Lakshminarayana in Bangalore
Bangalore's Chinnaswamy Stadium will host the first match of the Celebrity Cricket League, a T-20 extravaganza by the film industry.
The first half of the day will see Chennai Rhinos captained by Suriya and Telugu Warriors led by Venkatesh vying for the cup while Karnataka Bulldozers and Mumbai Heroes will take to the field later in the day.
Kannada actor Sudeep is the captain of the Karnataka Bulldozers while Mumbai Heroes, owned by Salman Khan, is captained by Suniel Shetty.
Shivarajkumar, Yash, Diganth, Chiranjeevi Sarja, Dhruva, Tharun Shreedhar, Tharun Sudheer, Shankregowda, Rahul and Dhruva are part of the 15-member Karnataka team.
Actresses Ragini Dwivedi, Nidhi Subbaiaha, Aindrita Ray, Sanjana, Pooja Gandhi and Sharmila Mandre are expected to be present at the venue to cheer the Bulldozers.
Shriya Saran, Sonakshi Sinha, Genelia and Madhuri Bhatachraya will also be present together with veteran actors Dharmendra and Dev Anand. Superstar Rajnikanth was to attend the event, but ill-health keeps him away. Kannada heroes Upendra, Ganesh, Darshan and Puneet, among other popular stars, will attend.
To give spectators their money's worth, a slew of entertainment programmes are being planned. Actors Arjun Sarja and Madhuri will be putting up a ten-minute act to promote their upcoming film Prasad.
Sonu Nigam, who has sung one of the official songs of the Karnataka Bulldozers, is also expected to perform live. Around 1200 folk artistes will also be performing. Twenty-four Karnataka cricketers, who have represented India, will also be felicitated on the occasion.
Getting back to the game, the Bulldozers are practising hard prior to the June 4 face-off. They recently played a practise match under floodlights with members of the Press Club. Sudeep will be opening the attack with Pradeep. The team will be dressed in blue jerseys.
The entire film industry will remain shut on June 4 to allow the fraternity to come and watch the match. To compensate, the industry will work on the second Sunday of the month.
"This match is an attempt to show that the film industry, cutting across languages, is one big family. It is just a way for us actors to get together and spend time. I appeal to my industry colleagues to come and support our team," said veteran actor Ambareesh.
He urged people to come in large numbers and watch the match. "Just like we advocate against music piracy, I request people to come to the stadium and watch the match and not watch it on TV. By watching the match in the stadium, you will also be contributing to the welfare of speech and hearing impaired people," he said.
Owner of Karnataka Bulldozers, industrialist Ashok Khenny, has decided to donate the ticket money to the above-mentioned cause. He will also donate Rs 3 crore towards construction of an office for the Artiste's Association. A sum of Rs 1 crore has been given by the state home ministry.
Stars pad up for cricket show
After Bengaluru, matches will be held in Chennai and Hyderabad. Kannada players will travel to Chennai on June 5 on a chartered flight. They will play a match with teams representing the Tamil industry and there will also be a match between the Hindi and Telugu industry.
On June 11, the action will shift to Hyderabad where Telugu artistes will challenge Kannada artistes and Hindi artistes will play their Tamil counterparts.
The final is likely to be held on June 12 in Hyderabad. The matches are in the T-20 format. Six league matches and a final will be held as part of the tourney.Tickets will be priced between Rs 200 and Rs 5000 for the June 4 match. The matches will be telecast live on Zoom channel.