Vintage Indian Ads

Salman Khan in his 20s in a 1980s ad for Hero Honda CD100

The Salman Khan in this advertisement for Hero Honda CD100 is about 25 years younger than the superstar Salman of today and precedes his blockbuster debut in a lead role in Maine Pyar Kiya. Before entering his destined world of movies, @beingsalmankhan dabbled for a while in the world of modelling. This is one of [Read more]

Mithun ‘Gunmaster G-9’ Chakraborty and Kitu ‘Svetlana’ Gidwani together in an ad

Very few actresses can the match the measure of elegance and sensuality that Kitu Gidwani has. I do not recall much of Trishna or Air hostess, that aired on Doordarshan in the early 1980s, but still remember that Svetlana Bannerjee of Swabhimaan (1995) gave my adolescent skin goosebumps. If I am not mistaken, Kitu Gidwani [Read more]

Rajesh Khanna and the Red Rose in Fabina Suitings & Shirtings ad

I doubt whether the proprietors of Fabina Textiles Pvt. Ltd. watched Rajesh Khanna’s 1980 psycho-thriller Red Rose before agreeing the sign on the fading superstar for the advertisement? There are some films so bad that they are just plain bad, and there are some films so bad they are hair-raisingly awesome. Somewhere in the large [Read more]

Fancy a puff from an air-conditioned cigarette?

When I first saw this ad for Caravan Air-Conditioned Cigarettes, the first thought that came to my mind was “WTF is an air-conditioned cigarette?” Guessed it could be some menthol cigarette (if Emami’s Navratna Cool Talc can call itself the world’s smallest AC, why can’t a brand of minty cigarettes?). A closer read revealed it [Read more]

Watch: Helen, Queen of the Nautch Girls (and a Lux ad)

A 1973 31-minute documentary from Merchant Ivory Productions, directed and narrated by Anthony Korner on Bollywood greatest ‘item girl’ ever. It’s Helen’s 72nd birthday today. But before you head on to the video, a vintage Lux advertisement featuring Helen. YouTube playlist: Helen, Queen of the Nautch Girls Madhu Nair points out that the YouTube videos [Read more]

A beardless Kabir Bedi’s long affair with Wills cigarettes

Got the first glimpse of a beardless Kabir Bedi in a Marlboro Man avatar, thanks to Memsaab. And now here’s another advertisement from the same ‘Start a long affair’ Wills Filter Kings series showing Kabir Bedi (Difficult to recognise him without the beard. That distinctive nose was the clue) in a library, cigarette in hand, [Read more]

The day BSA SLR helped Kapil Dev fly high

In the 1980s, Kapil Dev was India’s hottest cricket sensation. Leading India to win the World Cup immediately gave the Haryana Hurricane a label of greatness in the hearts and the minds of Indian cricket fans and with it came lots of endorsement deals. Though not as lucrative as the ones today’s cricketers enjoy. Whenever [Read more]

Zeenat Aman is the classic Indian dark-haired beauty in 1970 Air India ad

“Memories of dark-haired beauties,” is what a traveller to India will bring back, promises a 1970 advertisement for Air India. “Long after you leave India, India will still be with you,” says the tag line. And that dark-haired beauty modelling for the ad is none other than Zeenat Aman (I did an image overlay check [Read more]

The bald quartet – Gandhi, Nehru, Bose, Patel – in an ad for hair oil

This is possibly from a time when a head full of ideals was more important than a head full of hair. What else can explain the presence of India’s most revered baldies in an advertisement for a hair care product. This advertisement for Jai-Hind Amla Goonnidhi Hair Oil features the stalwarts of India’s freedom movement [Read more]

Wills Filter cigarettes ad from 1969

Yet another addition to the ever-growing Wills Filter/Wills Navy Cut advertisements on Cutting the Chai. This sample is 1969 vintage. Each Wills Filter/Wills Navy Cut ad has a couple enjoying a different activity together (no, none of them has them having sex, even though it is quite possibly the most enjoyable activity that a couple [Read more]

Wills Filter: Made for each other

This was perhaps the most noticed (and the longest running) of all the ads in Hindustan Thompson Associates’ (HTA) ‘Made for each other’ series for Wills Filter cigarettes. This ad is a scan from the April 1989 issue of The Calcutta Skyline. Made for each other Wills Filter set the filter trend in cigarettes long [Read more]

Molten gold, Rs 28: The ad that got Calcutta curious

The Indian lust for gold can never be quenched. Gold prices had recently crossed Rs 29,000 for 10 grams. Even at Rs 3,175 back in 1988 gold topped the desire list (maybe along with imported Japanese electronics). An innovative advertiser in Calcutta added curiosity to the desire to come up with an appealing campaign. For [Read more]