Benita Chacko

The Pan Masala Cinematic Universe: How different is reel and real

After Akshay Kumar, Shah Rukh Khan and Ajay Devgn, Tiger Shroff and Amyra Dastur have also joined the ‘Zubaan Kesari’ bandwagon.

Tiger Shroff, Hrithik Roshan, Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar have two things in common- they display their athletic bodies on screen and at the same time endorse ‘Elaichi Pearl’ brands. While all endorsements do not necessarily mirror a celebrity's personal lifestyle choices, in this category the risk of influencing a dangerous habit is high. 

The Elaichi Pearls are usually a surrogate product by Pan Masala and Gutka brands. In many cases the product does not even exist and is merely seen in advertisements. This category heavily relies on celebrity endorsements. Be it Shah Rukh Khan, Ajay Devgn and now Tiger Shroff and Amyra Dastur for Vimal Elaichi or Chris Gayle, Virender Sehwag, Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar for Kamla Pasand- the formula seems to be get as many celebrities on board as possible. 

According to TAM Sports data for the first 39 matches of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the percentage share of the ad volume for this category has declined by 6% (from 16% in 2023 to 10% in 2024), yet it is still one of the Top 5 categories to advertise on the sporting property. In fact, Vimal Elaichi has climbed up the ranks, from No. 5 it is now the third biggest television advertiser for IPL. 

Here we take a look at how different the celebs’ real life choices are from the persona they portray in the ‘Elaichi’ ads.

Tiger Shroff for Pan Bahar and Vimal Elaichi

In an interview with Film Companion’s Anupama Chopra, the young actor spoke about how he works hard to maintain his body, as his fans have a certain expectation from him. Describing the gym as his ‘mandir’ he said other than Sunday, when he cheats, he diligently works out everyday to be a better version of himself. With close to 40 million followers on Instagram, many youth follow him for his fitness regimen and seek inspiration from his workout videos. 

While he takes utmost care of his own health, he has also been promoting Pan Bahar and has now joined the ‘Vimal Cinematic Universe’. It is widely known that these products are mere surrogates of its tobacco and Gutka products.

Akshay Kumar for Vimal Elaichi

A lot has been said and written about Akshay Kumar’s disciplined lifestyle. The actor has himself spoken about his clean habits in many interviews. He stresses on a consistent sleep routine and an early dinner (he finishes dinner by 6.30 PM). In a government ad, he vocally speaks up against smoking and its impact on the quality of life. 

Yet, the actor joined the Zubaan Kesari bandwagon with Shah Rukh Khan and Ajay Devgn. However, when his fans expressed their hurt, Kumar apologised. He said, “I am sorry. I would like to apologise to you, all my fans and well-wishers. Your reaction over the past few days has deeply affected me. While I have not and will not endorse tobacco, I respect the outpouring of your feelings in light of my association with Vimal Elaichi. With all humility, I step back. I have decided to contribute the entire endorsement fee towards a worthy cause. The brand might continue airing the ads till the legal duration of the contract that is binding upon me, but I promise to be extremely mindful in making my future choices. In return I shall forever continue to ask for your love and wishes.”

Hrithik Roshan for DB Siggnature

In another interview with Chopra, the 50-year-old actor spoke about his brief return to smoking. The fling lasted only around a week, but during this time he noticed that his heart had to work almost twice as hard. He shared this with his fans, only to highlight how dangerous smoking (tobacco consumption) can be and how it brings down the lifespan. He was even willing to share his body vitals with Film Companion, so that the viewers can take a leaf from his book. The actor is synonymous with fitness, and he also launched the brand HRX, a brand for fitness enthusiasts.

However, this same actor also endorses DB Siggnature’s Silver Elaichi. A cursory look at the parent company Dilbagh’s website shows no such product actually exists- it is only a surrogate for its gutka and pan masala. 

Salman Khan for Rajshree Elaichi

For most of his career, Khan has been known for his shirtless acts in cinema, owing to his well-sculpted body. The hours of work and strict diets show on his body and as he inches closer to his 60s, he still maintains his gym hours. The actor has also launched his own gym brand, SK27, as many youngsters aspire to have a body like him. 

But when the same body is seen endorsing Rajshree Elaichi, a surrogate product for Rajshree Pan Masala, does it give out the same message to the millions who follow him? Many look to emulate him and this product, which costs less than Rs 5, comes across an easy ticket to that life.

Have news to share? Write to us