We always knew that meister-spinner Harbhajan Singh has a rotten temper. While Team India has often used it to its benefit, other players like Andrew Symonds and S Sreesanth have found themselves at the receiving end of Bhajji’s temper tantrums. The latest target of the spinner’s ire is his captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Well, at least the target of Bhajji’s mother’s ire. While both cricketers are busy touring in England, Bhajji’s mother has sent a legal notice to Vijay Mallya of UB Spirits asking the ‘king of good times’ to stop the TV commercial showing MSD “mocking” her ‘puttar’. To add an extra spin to the argument, Mummy-ji Avtar Kaur has added that the advert not only mocks her bachcha but also the entire Sikh community.
Even at the risk of being slapped (with a legal notice), we must say that the advert is a first-rate spoof of Harbhajan’s ad for Royal Stag, a Seagram’s brand of whisky which has the rather dorky tag-line: ‘Have I made it large?’ The Dhoni ad for the McDowell’s brand has a Harbhajan look-alike asking the same question while sitting on giant ball bearings and then getting slapped by his father for, well, making the ball bearings ridiculously large. Dhoni’s response to the spoof: “Forget large. Do something different.” We love the the ad not because it shows someone in a negative light but because we hardly see too many good spoofs in the Indian advertising landscape anyway.
Will this commercial skirmish affect relations between Bhajji and Dhoni? We doubt it. And thankfully, Mr Mallya has refused to remove the ad. Let’s drink — both a ‘large’ Patiala peg and a ‘different’ blend altogether — to a good, fun ad. And instead of whining, Team Bhajji should come up a better riposte through another ad. May we suggest one showing an MSD lookalike wearing his wicketkeeper’s gloves on his head thereby promoting doing things ‘differently’?