Akshay, Kareena, Rani, Bipasha to perform at closing ceremony Indian politics took a backseat to Bollywood in the biggest South African weekly, the Sunday Times, with photographs of film stars participating in the Indian Premier League (IPL) gala finale hogging page three, while the Congress party win at the general elections got only two short columns on page 15.

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Despite having a weekly supplement called 'Extra' for South African Indian readers, which features Bollywood news as well, the Sunday Times prominently used pictures of Bipasha Basu, Kareena Kapoor, Rani Mukherji and Akshay Kumar in an article highlighting the Bollywood extravaganza that will follow the final of the IPL at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesberg next Sunday (May 24).

Celebrated choreographer Shiamak Davar will coordinate the Bollywood extravaganza, in which 750 people will be involved.

"A closing ceremony should always leave a lump in one's throat," the weekly quoted Etienne de Villiers, the South African born advisor to IPL commissioner Lalit Modi.

"It's going to be an acknowledgement of the role that South Africa has played in the success of the IPL."

The IPL games, featuring eight teams, were played at several South African cities to packed stadiums. It was moved here because of security concerns during parliamentary elections in India.

The closing ceremony will also feature 2,000 floating lanterns released into the sky as fans rock to the music of reggae star Eddie Grant; Indian and South African drummers; and the latest South African Idols winners, Jason Hartman and Sasha-Lee Davids.

Following an SMS voting bungle, the two Idols winners are the first ever joint winners of an Idols contest that takes place in many countries across the globe to find a local singing star.

Davids was first announced the winner. But after it was discovered that almost 200,000 viewers' votes had not come through in time, Hartman was declared a joint winner.

Meanwhile, 48 young South African women are holding thumbs to see which 16 of them will go through to the finals of the Miss Bollywood IPL South Africa to be held at the Wanderers in Johannesberg next Sunday (May 24).

The Indian Premier League (IPL) has been selecting one finalist at every game to eventually have six women representing each of the eight teams in the series that is being played out in South Africa.

Voting for the 48 finalists started at midnight on Saturday, with votes closing at 18:00 SA time on Monday evening. Fans can cast their votes on the website www.iplt20.com.

The 16 finalists will all feature in a contest before the final game at the Wanderers next Sunday (May 24) to vie for a prize of 50,000 rands in cash, a flight to India, and a guided tour through Bollywood that initially was also expected to include an audition for a Bollywood role, but that still appears to be uncertain.

The finalists include budding lawyers, accountants and auditors; businesswomen, students, models, actresses, teachers and a radiographer.

The final two contestants were announced on Saturday (May 16) during games in Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg.

One of them was 24-year-old Phylicia Ramdin of Glenanda, south of Johannesburg. She was picked from the crowd attending the clash between the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Deccan Chargers held at the Wanderers.

Ramdin is currently an insurance analyst but is determined to become a successful businesswoman: "I'm enthusiastic, positive and goal driven. I believe we need to always have a positive outlook on life and go after what you want with determination."

"The IPL has been great, watching the cricketing talent, team strategies and the unity of the crowds that come to watch", added Ramdin.

Earlier on Saturday Rohini Jaga of Port Elizabeth was selected as a contestant in the Miss Bollywood IPL South Africa competition during the DLF IPL game held at St. George's Park.

Jaga, 20, who has a passion for figures and is currently a B.Com Accounting student at the University of Port Elizabeth, recently went on holiday to India: "My dad studied in India and took us on a journey through the subcontinent. It was vastly different to places I have visited before. I was very taken with the culture; it's truly a land of contrasts and beauty."

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