The Kolkata Knight Riders got a Chelsea-like EPL welcome in the city yesterday after dethroning Chennai Super Kings on Sunday to become the new Indian Premier League champions.
KKR co-owner Shah Rukh, who is also West Bengal’s brand ambassador, had initially disappointed thousands of Kolkatans by not turning up for the open bus victory parade which started in the morning from Hazra Crossing. However, the Bollywood superstar hogged all the limelight once he surfaced outside the state secretariat.
Outside the Writers Buildings, Banerjee felicitated the team with bouquets of flowers and scarfs. Shah Rukh entered the scene, hugged the chief minister and also held the IPL trophy aloft with her.
Thousands of fans turned up for the felicitation function at the Eden Gardens in spite of the scorching sun and high humidity. The event being free-for-all, the Eden Gardens was jam-packed and nearly an equal number of people waited outside the ground.
At Eden, Shah Rukh broke into a jig as rock band Bhoomi played some of their famous songs. The superstar was as charming as a boy in his teens. It was hard to believe that he was a franchise owner. He also pulled in actress and co-owner Juhi Chawla to accompany him while dancing.
Shah Rukh later requested Banerjee to dance with him. “Didi (as Banerjee is fondly called) Bengal may be yours, but Eden is mine,” said Shah Rukh tongue-in-cheek.
Banerjee said: “I don’t know how to dance, but I will sing when KKR wins the IPL next year.” KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir, who has a huge fan following now, was stunned by the reception. “The reception we got here is amazing. I don’t think any other city in India can match this. Only Kolkata can show this kind of emotion,” Gambhir told MiD DAY.
The players visited the home dressing room at the Eden before dispersing to their respective homes.
(Inputs from Agni Pandey)