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 we think of Kapil and advertising, “Pamolive da jawab nahin” immediately jumps to the mind. But this ad for BSA SLR bicycles also remains embedded somewhere in the minds of those of us who grew up reading Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle.

A comic strip ad blended very well with the rest of the content on ACK and Tinkle and since it did not stand out as a thrust upon advertisement it had a greater impact and perhaps generated a desire of owning a BSA SLR.

Speaking of SLR, when I was a kid the default expansion for SLR was ‘sport light roaster’ and now it is ‘single-lens reflex.’

Kapil Dev in BSA SLR advertisement

The day BSA SLR helped Kapil Dev fly high

The Indian cricket XI is flying to play a Test match. But Kapil’s taxi is stalled on to the way to the airport.

Taxi driver: Saheb, it’s hopeless
Kapil Dev: What do I do? No other taxi in sight.

Luckily for Kapil, hope cycles his way… on a BSA SLR

Kapil: Hey, BSA can I borrow your SLR?
BSA girl: Sure, Kapil.

Kapil races to the airport on the light and speedy BSA SLR

Kapil: I’ve got to make it. Come on, speedy BSA SLR.

As the third and final call is announced, Kapil screeches to a halt and rushes in – just in time to catch the flight. In the Test, it’s a match-winning performance… and the man of the match award.

Kapi: The credit goes to a sweet little friend but for whose help I would have missed the match. Thanks, friend.
BSA girl: Not me, but my BSA SLR.

BSA SLR – The Sporty Bike
Agency: Rediffusion

One question still lingers, “Did the BSA girl get her bike back?”