Total recall: Those were the days : Cover Story

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Asmita Bakshi


Before the era of glitzy malls, it was homegrown brands that thrived in pre-liberalisation India. Until the 1980s, the Amby (Ambassador) and the Pad (Padmini) ruled its streets; Campa Cola, Citra and Gold Spot were the drinks of choice (and Coca Cola until George Fernandes, much to the dismay of aerated drink-glugging toddlers, ordered American multinationals IBM and Coca-Cola to leave the country due to alleged investment violations), and an HMT watch ticked on almost every Indian’s wrist from 1961. Growing up on Chacha Chaudhary and Saboo or enjoying a ride in town on your Bajaj Scooter or, if one could afford it, a Rajdoot or Yezdi, was what life looked like before thundering Harley Davidsons were imported on to Indian roads. The late ’70s also saw a revolution in the world of advertising. Catchy jingles, the evolution of different target groups (the modern woman used Jaipan blenders and the VIP man wore nothing but a Frenchie and dressing gown) and overall innovation in style and substance, commercials and campaigns launched some of the leading actors in the Indian film industry. India Today goes back in time to rediscover these brands, their unforgettable advertisements and their indelible place in Indian minds and memories.

-With Rajesh Sharma


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