Gary of India; Lineker Goes Bollywood in His Latest Crisps Advert
Harris, Ed, The Evening Standard (London, England)
Byline: ED HARRIS
THE groom sits astride a distinctly skittish horse, clinging fiercely to the reins with a look of fear in his face. Behind him, wearing ceremonial dress, wedding dancers sing and sway. The air is filled with confetti and in the background the golden dome of the temple reflects the sunlight. It looks like a typical Indian marriage. But hang on - are those terraced houses in the distance? And that chap on the horse - he looks just like Gary Lineker?
It is indeed the television presenter and former England international footballer, appearing not in a Bollywood blockbuster but his latest advertisement for Walker's crisps. And the exotic scene is not downtown Delhi, but a back street in Southall, Middlesex.
Lineker, his hair dyed black, plays a groom arriving to collect his dowry - the keys to a cornershop, and, presumably, the crisps inside. He thinks he has married a young beauty - but his bride turns out to be Meera Syal, looking like her Granny Sushila character from BBC2 comedy show The Kumars At No 42.
Leicester's favourite son smiled and joked with the crew as the cast went through several takes. And there was real drama on set as Meera sustained a freak injury. She was leading Lineker's horse when it stepped sideways and trod on her toe. She was forced to hobble off the set while anxious crew members examined her injury, but returned, apparently not seriously hurt.
Victoria Road, a quiet corner of this west London suburb - which boasts a large Asian community - had been transformed.
Lighting was rigged in front gardens and brightly-coloured bunting strung between lamp posts. …