This Independence Day, cricket has pipped Bollywood. Thousands are choosing to fly World Cup victory kites over the ones with Bollywood themes. Even though India is losing abysmally in the ongoing test series in England, the World Cup win is still a high for most, and kites with pictures of Team India’s captain MS Dhoni and the Men in Blue lifting the trophy are bestsellers in the Capital.
In Lal Kuan in Chandni Chowk — the kite manufacturing hub of Delhi — some vendors claim to have sold over 2,000 World Cup kites in a day. “Boys come with their friends and ask specifically for the victory kites. These are selling even more than the tricolour kites, which are the bestsellers every year,” says Mohammad Altaf of Kallu Bhai Patang Wale. He adds that they’ve already sold 1,700 victory kites. The paper kites are priced at R5, while the plastic-coated ones cost R10. “On a single day, we sold 2,000 victory kites; they are the biggest hit this year,” says Balbir Singh, owner of Bhishan Chand and Sons Kite Merchants.
This kite is even more popular than those which have Bollywood stars on them. Even the Munni Badnam kite, which has an image of Malaika Arora Khan in the Dabangg item song, and the Sheila kite, which shows Katrina Kaif dancing to Sheila Ki Jawani, are not as popular. “Kites with Bollywood stars on them are selling, but not as much.
In fact, there’s more demand for the Harry Potter kites. I had 700 kites and they sold out in a day, and I had to order more,” says Ram Kumar, owner of General International Kite Makers. For youngsters, flying victory kites on Independence Day is a double whammy. “What better way to feel proud on Independence Day!” says Abhishekh Baruah, 20. “I have bought 150 victory kites. The kite-flying competition will be awesome,” says Raman Khanduja, 23.
Ban glass manja, demand stars
Bollywood actor Rahul Khanna has written to the government asking them to ban the sale of glass-laced manja (kite string) this Independence Day. Khanna has joined hands with the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals and other Bollywood stars to create awareness of the fact that glass manja causes fatal injuries to birds who get entangled in the string. “The manja used in kite flying competitions at this time of the year can be deadly to animals. Something this dangerous should be considered a deadly weapon and must be outlawed without delay,” he says. “Any precaution taken to support animal or human welfare is appreciated. It’s definitely more sensible than changing names of lanes and cities,” says actor Amrita Rao, who supports the cause.
Last year, actor Sonam Kapoor featured in an ad calling for a ban on manja. “When these stars learned that countless birds are injured or killed by glass-coated manja, they wanted to do everything to stop its use,” says Sachin Bangera of PETA India.
Hot sellers this year
Harry Potter Kites: Have an image of a young Daniel Radcliffe from the first movie — Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Secret
Sheila Ki Jawani Kite:
Shows Katrina Kaif in a pink outfit from the item song in Tees Maar Khan
Munni Badnam Kite: Has the now-iconic image of Malaika Arora Khan in the item song from Dabangg
Yamla Pagla Deewana Kite: Has a photograph of all three Deols —Dharmendra, Sunny and Bobby — from the film.
(Credit: Navdeep Kaur Marwah)