The third edition of the Indian Super League got off to a colourful start with a star-studded opening ceremony even as the fans, wearing their passion for the game on their sleeves, descended at the Indira Gandhi International Stadium to witness the gala ceremony, in Guwahati, on Saturday.
With a host of celebrities from the world of sports and entertainment in attendance, the half-an-hour long ceremony had the spectators at the jam-packed stadium in thrall.
A carnival atmosphere filled the air as the ceremony showcased the cultural diversity and spirit of the eight sisters before familiar foes Northeast United FC and Kerala Blasters resumed their rivalry on the pitch.
Besides the cultural part, act 1 also featured a bevy of Bollywood stars gyrating to hindi chartbusters, while all the franchise owners were called on to the stage one by one.
Bollywood heartthrobs Alia Bhatt, Jacqueline Fernandes and Varun Dhawan, along with about 500 performers rocked the stadium in the short, yet spectacular, show.
Alia, Jacqueline and Varun set the stage ablaze with their scintillating acts and took selfies with ISL founding chairperson Nita Ambani, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, Indian Olympic silver medallist shuttler P V Sindhu, actors Ranbir Kapoor, John Abraham, Abhishek Bachchan and cricketing ace Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Sindhu performed the ceremonial kick-off.
The local flavour was injected by the famed Shillong Chamber Choir who have enthralled audiences across the globe.
The franchise-based league will be played across eight cities over the next 11 weeks.