Someone’s just stolen the patakha thunder from Katrina and Kareena. It’s Sachin. While Diwali firecrackers generally bear the faces of top Bollywood actresses every year, this year, it’s the God of cricket who emerges as the top-spotted face on cracker packs across Delhi.
“Every year, the photographs on patakhas keep changing; it depends who is popular at that time. Since Sachin is in news at the moment, crackers with his face on them are selling well,” says a shopkeeper at Old Delhi’s Sadar Bazaar, the biggest hub of firecracker shops in the city. The 40-year-old cricketer announced his retirement earlier this month.
Priced between Rs. 100-Rs. 1,000, these assortment of phooljhadis (sparklers), anaars (flower pots), mini bombs and torches show Sachin in various play positions or close-ups on the cover. “These crackers are selling more than the ones with pictures of Bollywood actors. Big Sachin fans are buying these just for his photograph ... unko quality se bhi koi matlab nai hai,” says another shopkeeper, who has placed these crackers strategically at his shop.
Apart from Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the only cricketer whose picture we could spot. “Sachin news mein hai toh bik raha hai. Ladke Sachin ke patakhe khareedne ke liye hi aa rahe hain,” says Mohit Lal, who has set up a ten-day cracker shop in Paharganj.
The other highlights of the firecracker market are packs with photographs of actors Kareena Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Sonakshi Sinha, among others. “Actors toh evergreen hain! Har saal alag alag photos aati hain. Ab toh humko yaad bhi nai rehta kis saal kaun zyaada bika,” says a sales boy at SJ Sons, a cracker shop in Old Delhi.
HEMA THE LUCKY CHARM
Others come and go, but actor Hema Malini stays on patakha packs. “Hema Malini ki yeh photo (L) kareeb 10-15 saal se ‘hydro bomb’ par chhap rahi hai. Banaane wale Hemaji ko ab bhi lucky samajhte hain,” says a shopkeeper in Sadar Bazaar. The pack is priced at `350.