“Jisko dekho Messi vali phool-jhadi mang rha hai! Aakhir ye Messi hai kaun? (Everyone is asking for Messi sparklers, who is this Messi?)” says Mangtu, a firecracker shop owner at Sadar Bazar.
Not just Mangtu, other firecracker sellers are equally baffled about this non-Bollywood entity that is dominating the wrappers of firecracker boxes. Until last year, mostly Bollywood faces such as Kareena Kapoor Khan and Salman Khan used to don the covers of firecrackers that were manufactured for Diwali.
“Since the covers of firecracker boxes are made in Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu, it is mostly the South Indian and renowned Bollywood actors who are printed on the covers. However, this time this man’s face has filled up all our stock spaces and the point is that we don’t even know who he is! Probably now we should start watching English channels to know who is who,” adds Mangtu.
The footballer, though not much known among the seller, is a hit among the buyers. Both children and adults don’t mind paying some extra bucks to get their hands on their favourite sports star. Mahesh Sharma, a resident of Karol Bagh, who has bought quite a few packets of the Messi firecrackers says, “This is a welcome change from the usual Bollywood heroines like Kareena, Katrina or Priyanka. My son is a big fan of Messi and I paid extra to get this pack, just to make him happy.”
Another seller, Prabhu Dayal adds though now he has become used to the demand for crackers with Messi’s picture on it, but initially he was confused. “Jab log shuruaat me Messi vali phooljhadia maang rahe the, toh mujhe kehna pada ki khud hi andar jaakar nikal lao. Mujhe nahi pata kaun hai ye. Bachchon ne to ye bhi kaha ki aap isko kaise nahi jaante! (Initially when buyers demanded sparklers with Messi’s picture on the packet, I said I don’t know who is he and asked them to go inside and find the required themselves. The kids even commented that how can you not know who Messi is!) ,” says Dayal.
Besides Messi, even Hollywood actor Daniel Radcliffe is sporting the firecracker packets this Diwali. That too in his original Harry Potter avatar. Why this fascination for the foreign faces, is what the sellers are wondering.