commentary by Trevor Connell
Despite Channel 10’s best efforts to ruin a good show, the CWG Delhi Opening Ceremony was just wonderful to watch.
I was particularly impressed by the apparent simplicity of the whole production. The obvious technology was restricted to the aerostat and the projections thereon.
The three most striking effects to this viewer were the henna hands painted from underneath, the sand artists tribute to Ghandi and the various puppets suspended below the aerostat. Incredibly simple concepts producing a very striking effect.
The biggest challenge for directors of such events is how to fill the arena with imagery that works for the stadium audience as well as for the television audience. It came as no surprise that in a county with such an enormous population that the stadium could be filled time and again by people, props and costumes. The constant variety of traditional performers was just a delight.
TV commentators kept promising Bollywood – but they just don’t get it do they.
This was not Bollywood, this was a classy production featuring the traditions of India presented in a stylish manner then finishing off with a look at modern India in a humorous, good natured manner (that Australians certainly appreciate).
It was colourful without being garish. It was varied and entertaining. It was only the “games song” that introduced a touch of Bollywood, the rest was pure theatre – writ large.
So what about the coverage by TEN. Fifteen minutes into the piece, just as the seven year old drummer was getting warmed up they went to a commercial break. Fifteen minutes later the Australian team were all in the stadium, so we wouldn’t be interested in anyone else would we, so they went to a four minute commercial break. At that stage they lost me, I went to bed and watched the rest this morning, skipping through the rest of the ad breaks. But surprisingly, once the athletes parade had ended TEN showed the remainder of the performance ad free – maybe they figured no one else wanted to watch the ads either.
And why do TV stations insist on giving the job of commentating on cultural events to sporting commentators. This viewer wanted to watch the performance – not Tim, Liz and Nicole, who also kept babbling throughout the night – most of us don’t care what they think and they do not have to describe every movement when we can see perfectly well what is going on – just give us the facts and then shut up and let the performance tell the story. This is television, not radio.
The audio mix was also a worry – the commentary was much louder than the performance.
So if you watched it – please have your say below…
Some details on the technical aspects from the official CWG Delhi media
The Math of the D2010 Opening Ceremony
About 1,200 moving lights, 25 stacks of speakers and about 2,700 shots of fireworks spread across the roof of the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium combined with a stage weighing 500 tonnes to create a spectacular Opening Ceremony of the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi here in Delhi yesterday.
The gigantic main stage (inspired by the mandala, a sanskrit word for the geometric designs symbolic of the universe in Hinduism and Buddhism) was one of the largest built for any opening or closing ceremony. The stage was built within seven days by about 500 workers. Weighing an approximately 500 tonnes, the stage is large enough to hold 500 people under it.
The Opening Ceremony would have never been that spectacular had it not been for the lighting arrangements. 1,200 moving lights, 120 space cannons and 16 follow spots weighing approximately 75 tonnes was what it took to enchant the about 60,000 spectators. The 25 stacks of speakers produced 500,000 watts of sound.
If one was impressed by the fireworks, it was because of the 2,700 shots spread over 88 locations on the roof of the stadium. The crowd had erupted in joy as the firecrackers went up in air heralding the beginning of the Games. The entire system was supported by over 50 kilometres of power cables that were used to provide constant power for the opening ceremony.
and a gushing description from the CWG Delhi media
Stunning! Awe-inspiring! Grand!
One could almost run out of words to describe the Opening Ceremony of the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi. Spectators already in a trance following the initial part of the show were left enthralled as the Tree of Knowledge sprang to life. Representing the Bodhi Tree, the brilliantly-lit and colourful display was choreographed by some of India’s most famous exponents of dance. Tabla, Sitar and Mridangam players joined Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Kathak, Manipuri, Mohiniyattam and Kuchipudi dancers in paying homage to India’s famed Guru-Shishya tradition. Images of Gautama Buddha were projected onto the aerostat which, as the centrepiece, changed colours to reflect the passage of seasons.
A sporting event is always about human fitness and health. And what better way to focus on health than a segment on the ancient Indian philosophy of Yoga? Performers displayed some very complicated asanas to depict the famous Yogic way of life – representing the union of mind, body and soul – as the ephemeral shape of a man and chakras representing Kundalini energy rose from the ground! As the lights went dim, Buddhist chants, hymns, azaan and Gurbani sounded to remind the audience of India’s famous diversity, one that permeates to the very soul.
Of course, what would India be without its famous railways? Not just a lifeline that connects all corners of the nation, the Great Indian Journey is an indelible part of our popular culture. The colours of India, the hustle-and-bustle of its markets, the variety of its folk culture and the symbols that touch everyone’s lives, came together to show the vibrancy of its harmonious society that is united in its diversity.
It was then time to pay homage to the Father of the Indian Nation, Mahatma Gandhi in Mahatma and Ahimsa. Skilled artists depicted the Apostle of Peace’s life through spectacular sand drawings.
The audience was then treated to Celebrating India – a graceful exposition of dance from across the nation. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Oscar-winning composer and musician Mr. A.R. Rahman took his place on stage for the Grand Finale! The audience was in raptures as Mr. Rahman, who enjoys the sort of adulation normally reserved for rock stars, performed his Delhi 2010 Anthem, Jiyo, Utho, Badho, Jeeto and his Academy Award-winning Jai Ho!