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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Old ‘bombs’ make more noise

Eileen Singh, Hindustan Times   November 02, 2013
First Published: 10:55 IST(2/11/2013) | Last Updated: 11:19 IST(2/11/2013)

Bollywood and cricket never fail to grab attention, and they have not spared the firecrackers industry either. With Diwali only a day away, it is the lure of the Hindi films’ actresses — with a preference for those that were a part of the ‘golden era’ of Bollywood, and the Indian cricket team  — that is making an inflation-affected population shell money on crackers, bombs, phuljhadis and anars.

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{Yami Gautam and Rani Mukherjee (below) can’t beat the older actresses. Keshav Singh/HT}

The yesteryears’ beauties, it seems, haven’t faded from the peoples’ hearts even if they haven’t appeared on the screen for ages now. The Saira Banus, Vyjayanthimalas and Sridevis — all of them looking like they never aged a day — seem to rule the roost. Affirms Parveen, who has put up a stall selling crackers at the Dusshera grounds in Sector 43, Chandigarh.

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“It is the pictures of heroines that attract customers. Some or the actress is a favourite with everyone and pull customers like magnets,” he says.

We spot a ‘Ganga Jamna’ bomb pack and instantly recognise a young Raj Kapoor and Vyjayanthimala. Sitting along is a petite Saira Banu, holding a rocket on the cover. From a younger generation is the all-time favourite Sridevi— again, not the way she looks after her comeback, which is pretty much the same — but, in her famous ‘nagin dance pose’ on a box of rockets that costs anything from Rs. 250 onwards.

In the generation of actresses that ruled cinema in the ’90s, Karisma Kapoor and Shilpa Shetty on boxes of phuljhadis score over even Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Interestingly, much like the actresses’ high film fees, the crackers’ prices are touching the skies. While phuljhadis cost anywhere between Rs. 100-Rs 300, bombs cost from Rs. 250 to Rs. 300 and bigger fireworks start at Rs. 700 onwards.

Why do people not mind the old pictures of actresses, we wonder?

“These are the pictures clicked when the actresses were famous. So, everyone can connect with them,” reasons Ravinder, another crackers stall owner. Adds Rajiv Mehta, a resident of SAS Nagar, “These photos remind me of the films in which the heroines were so pretty. It’s also so easy to say, ‘Ek Karisma phuljhadi de do.’”

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(A ‘Ganga Jamna bomb’ scores over an ‘Aishwarya Rai cracker’. Keshav Singh/HT)

Whilst the crowds looking to buy crackers have relatively thinned, they haven’t altogether vanished. Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar also continue to feature on crackers boxes. “Dhoni and Tendulkar are like crackers themselves. Once crackers with them on the covers burn, they emit colourful light too,” informs Praveen. Expectedly, the children wouldn’t have it any other way and pester their parents to buy a ‘Sachin bomb’.

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