Indian politicians seem to have lost their clout at the Diwali marts and cracker mandis of Patna, this year.
Surprised! Well, far from the Lalu rockets and Rabri sparklers and crackers bearing names of other famous politicians, in the vogue in previous years, Bollywood stars and Indian cricketers are ruling the roost in Patna, this Diwali season.
So, Virat Kohli and his alleged sweetheart Anushka Sharma seem to be the most popular crackers brand this year, with the effervescent MS Dhoni among the other new heart throbs appearing on cracker labels this year, as a business USP.
Old heart throbs like Kareena Kapoor and Shah Rukh Khan , Katrina Kaif and Salman Khan have also managed to stay in the race as the sellers place a premium on the ‘models’ who will sell their Diwali wares.
“After winning the matches against Australia and Sri Lanka in style, the demand for Indian cricket superstars on Diwali labels has zoomed like never before. The same had happened after India won the World Cup under Dhoni. After all, India is a cricket crazy country and what better way to blend the joy of victory and celebration than Diwali,” said Mohammad Iqbal, a seller in Patna City.
Iqbal said, there was no political buzz right now, and there was no point in bringing firecrackers named after Nitish, Lalu, Rabri, Sonia Gandhi and others.
“It is just that manufacturers of these crackers use celebrities’ photographs on the packaging of their products to catch the fancy of the youth. Had there been an election, things could have been different,” he added.
He said that this Diwali, there were a wide range of firecrackers to choose from for all income brackets. “Packaging sells, but ultimately it is all about what one wants – sparklers, bombs or rockets. We have enough stock,” he said.
He said that Dhoni and Kohli rocket bombs and fancy bombs sold at the rate of Rs 340 for ten. “Kareena brand ground ‘chakkari’ special, Alia Bhat ‘anars’, Katrina parachute bombs, hydro bomb and Katrina sparklers were also available.
Shah Rukh Khan, Bollywood’s Badshah, adorns the packet of a rocket–which goes straight up and then splits into different colours. The vivacious Vidya Balan has made her debut in the Diwali market with a carpet series bomb named after her,” he added.
A shopkeeper however, lamented that the wholesale markets of Patna City had suffered after the administration sealed over 13 shops on the pretext of violation of the explosives Act. “Very few shops have opened at their own risk this time. With just a day left for celebration of Diwali, we cannot keep our stocks unsold,” he added.
He said that the shopkeepers had limited their stocks to fire crackers, brought from Sivakasi (in Tamil Nadu), in view of the administrative action. The police had even arrested nine shopkeepers in this regard, last year, he added