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The Coke-Pepsi war : Hrithik in crossfire

Graphic adapted from The summer is back with a vengeance and so are the cola wars. The war between Coke and Pepsi took a new turn with the controversy over Pepsi's latest ad mocking Hrithik, the current hearthrob of Bollywood.

On Tuesday night Rakesh Roshan went into a tizzy on watching the Pepsi ad. The ad, a spoof of the Hrithik's Coke ad, shows a Hrithik clone being made fun of by his archrival Shahrukh Khan. Prahlad Kakkar, the ad director was quoted as saying that Pepsi had "forced" him into casting the Hrithik clone. In the ad, Shahrukh Khan is the protagonist who gets a kiss from a sexy model while the Hrithik clone with braces gets the jeers.

On watching the ad, the Roshan Jr. was fuming and dashed angry letters to Pepsi and others. He is said to have written that the ad was not in good taste and as a newcomer, the veterans should support him rather than making fun of him.

Rakesh Roshan was quoted as saying that the ad was in bad taste and he has had been receiving calls from Hrithik fans vociferously demanding the ad's withdrawal. He said that this was because Pepsi was miffed at Hrithik because he signed up with Coke instead of Pepsi. The Pepsi spite was the Khan's rejoinder to the new No. 1 in Bollywood.

Prahlad Kakkar, the adman, was reported as telling Hrithik that this cute ad was to be taken in the right spirit. Prahlad had also sent the tape of the ad demanded by Hrithik. But Hrithik denied receiving the tape. Sources close to the Roshans informed IndiaFM on conditions of anonymity that Hrithik was tipped off by spies from the Coke camp.

The Pepsi ad is about Shahrukh Khan telling a beautiful girl in the bowling alley that she would have to kiss the person in whose direction the Pepsi bottle points. And he spins the bottle around which stops pointing to the Hrithik clone. Shahrukh tells the guy: 'Ek smile ho jaye', he opens his mouth and the braces sparkle and 'ping'. Shahrukh tells him to 'Enjoy'. Shah Rukh spins the bottle once more and it points to a young kid. Shahrukh tells him he is too young for a kiss and spins it again to stop it on himself. The girl won't kiss him. Shahrukh upset by the refusal, starts to walk out. The girl then runs up to him and kisses him.

Kakkar says that the concept is cute and is surprised that the Roshans have thrown tantrums on such a small issue.

Rakesh Roshan claims that Kakkar has apologised to him while Kakkar denies it. Roshan Sr. also said that he was still to speak to Shahrukh on this issue. He feels let down by Shahrukh, who he has directed, in three hit films namely KING UNCLE, KARAN ARJUN and KOYLA.

Rakesh Roshan is contemplating suing Pepsi and Kakkar. IndiaFM has learnt from unnamed Bollywood sources that Rakesh has turned megalomaniac since the success of Kaho Na Pyar Hai. Roshan Sr. has sued Archies for selling Hrithik's photos without paying him royalty. He is demanding obscene sums of money for anything related to Hrithik. It has earned Roshan Sr. the ire of entire film and trade fraternity. Sources said that these unwise steps may turn Hrithik's fans against him and he may loose his popular appeal, appearing a greedy and heartless ogre.


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