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Bollywood biggies continue to dominate firecracker packets

The young guns of tinseltown may be going full throttle when it comes to landing plum film and endorsement deals, but their industry seniors are, unarguably, much bigger patakas.

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A walk down the firecracker shops across the city market proves that — they are stocked with a variety of bombs, sparklers and rockets whose packets feature B-Town biggies like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Katrina Kaif, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra. Not just pictures, there's more to the cracker boxes.

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"The names of many firecrackers have been inspired by the stars' personal life. For example, a packet of bombs embossed with Ranbir-Katrina's picture is called Naya Naya Pyaar.

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Then there's Mocktail which has a collage of different celebs and the one with Priyanka Chopra on the cover is called Independence Day, probably because she has achieved so much without any godfather in the industry. Apart from the pictures of stars, the names attract a lot of eyeballs," adds Pyare Mohan, a firecracker seller in Matunga.

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A major chunk of customers fall in the 10-35 age bracket, says Ganesh, a Bandra-based cracker seller. "Most youngsters look up to Bollywood stars and cricketers as their role models, so having them on the cracker packets boosts sale. But, only big names feature on the cover and newcomers have zero visibility," he adds.

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Agrees Shyam Lal, who has set up a small shop in Oshiwara that is filled with star-studded cracker packets: "Pictures of film stars is a sure way of attracting customers. They generally opt for the ones that bear pictures of the bigger industry names like SRK, Salman, Ranbir, Katrina and Priyanka Chopra. The newer actors are yet to attract the manufacturers' attention."

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However, Ashfaque, a popular seller based in Kurla, feels the craze for Bollywood faces has been fizzling out consistently over the years. "Compared to last year, very few boxes with film celebrities on the cover have come to the market this time.

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We are seeing more of cartoon characters and animals on the packets," he states.

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