Double Olympic medalist wrestler, Sushil Kumar rejected a Rs 50 lakh-offer to feature in a surrogate ad for a liquor brand. Kumar, who his himself a vegetarian and a teetotaler, feels that featuring in such activities will send a wrong message to the youth and encourage them to drinking habits.
In a time when hottest sporting property in the country, the IPL, is laced with liquor brands beaming from almost every possible projectable corner - be it the jerseys or the parties - it is definitely a move that should be hailed and put forth as an example. Especially, when it's a proven fact, that non-cricket sportspersons in this country can hardly expect to rake in the kind of money that cricketers do. Â
So, lauding Sushil's decision, we take a look at some of the other stars who never thought on those lines and are seen flashing for such brands.
MS Dhoni: India's World Cup winning captain is the most valued cricketer in the country at the moment, and arguably the richest cricketer in the world too, but that didn't stop him from coming in an ad for McDowell's No. 1. The CSK skipper was even criticized by the Chennai supporters for appearing in the brand's commercials.
Gautam Gambhir: In a tryst to 'make it large', the India opener hopped on to the liquor-wagon as he featured in the commercials for Royal Stag.
Harbhajan Singh: One of the foremost cricketers to be on Royal Stag payrolls, Bhajji has time-and-again been seen on the commercials of this liquor brand.
Shah Rukh Khan: A billion's heartthrob, youth icon, doting father, the ultimate romance king... et al - SRK is all, and a brand ambassador for Royal Stag again. But then, hasn't he self-professed that he can do anything for money!
Saif Ali Khan: Well, how incidental that the tea brand he endorses gives out quite the similar colour when dipped in water as does the whiskey brand he promotes. Thank goodness, that's not a shade from the paint company he represents!
Ajay Devgn: In South Africa to promote his upcoming release during the CLT20, the macho-man has been promoting the Bagpiper brand in their cheeky 'club soda' garb for quite some time now.
Zaheer Khan: India's pace-attack leader, the good-looking cricketer has been posing for the brand Royal Stag quite a few times.
And these are just few big names to talk about. Apart from a host of other Bollywood biggies, cricketers like Yuvraj Singh, Robin Uthappa - apart from quite a few international ones - have been associated with the liquor brands for a long time now.
But, there quite few other icons who have resisted the lure of big money and publicly refused to feature in these kinds of commercials.
Sachin Tendulkar: Tipped to be highest single-brand deal for a sportsperson, the Master Blaster was offered a reported Rs 20 crore to be a part of a liquor brand for a year. But Tendulkar, who had once promised his father for never endorsing a tobacco or an alcohol product, had promptly turned down the offer in 2010.
Amitabh Bachchan: He may have epitomised the drunken young man on silver screen, and is still one of the hottest brand ambassador in the market at the age of 70, he always stayed away from endorsing liquor brands.
John Abraham: Another teenage heartthrob, and a fitness freak, John has always refused to endorse tobacco and alcohol related products.
Pullela Gopichand: The badminton legend one step further. Fresh from his All England triumph, like every other athlete in the country, the Hyderabad man too was approached by a cola giant. Sadly, they returned empty handed.
Liverpool FC: The Premier League powerhouse ended a nearly two-decade long brand-association with Carlsberg, one of the biggest beer sellers in the world.