Throwback Thursday: 10 iconic Doordarshan ads from '80s and '90s

  • Sanya Panwar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 21, 2015 17:52 IST

Sometimes commercials are actually worth watching. Sometimes, they're truly heart-warming, breath-taking even. And sometimes, they touch the core of what is beautiful about our society, culture, history, lives and humanity.

And the Doordarshan brand of ads from the 1980s and 1990s are great at, well, simply being iconic: Some of them introduced jingles that we couldn't help but sing along to, while others brought a tear to our eyes, every single time.

Indeed, those days are over. But we would happily sit through those iconic TV commercials which came out when TV -- as we know it today -- was just starting out.

The list we put together is a treat to watch -- partly for the glimpse of life during another era, but mostly because these ads still managed to make us smile, no matter how cheesy or dated they seem. If only we could still see some of them on TV.

You would agree that most of these are pretty darn cool!

Here goes it:

1 Lijjat papad

Dogs and cats get most of the internet love these days, but back then bunnies put on quite a show. Freaky or not, this rabbit knew how to sell papads. We bet you remember "Kurram, kurram..."

2 Maggi

Advertising on TV since early 1980s, Maggi has produced multiple iconic ads. Who can forget the catchy slogan, "Fast to cook, good to eat", right? Raise your hand if you too grew up saying (or still say) "Mummy, I'm hungry!"

3Bajaj Auto

The history of Bajaj Auto is the history of 21th century India. There's no doubt that this old Bajaj Auto ad is one of the most iconic ads India has ever seen. "Naye Bharat ki nayi taqdeer" to "Buland Bharat ki buland tasveer", Bajaj Auto's national campaign hit our TV screens in 1980s. Riding on the idea of a 'family vehicle' for Indians, Bajaj Auto immediately became the symbol for a strong India.

4Whirlpool Refrigerator

Cooler than cool, this old refrigerator ad's still chilling. "Ice Ice baby... Whirlpoooool... Whirlpoooool..." Rings a bell, doesn't it? It might have been around for what feels like an ice age but this cheeky and classic commercial fascinates still and makes us want a 'quick chill' Whirlpool fridge.


While today soap ads hype up the sex factor to the point of no return, Karen Lunel, the iconic Liril girl from the 1980s, always looked classy and flawless. She rewrote all marketing rules and broke into the pop culture scene, never to leave again and inspiring a future generation of Liril girls including Bollywood beauty Preity Zinta.


When we think back to iconic ads of past, we remember a handful of Pepsi ads featuring big guns from Bollywood. But we particulary loved the one where Aamir Khan, Mahima Chaudhary and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan joined forces for the most epic Pepsi commercial in existence. We can't help but remember how Ash sent our hearts fluttering as she asked for the fizzy sweet dark-brown drink.


Talking of Bollywood actors, who can forget Complan girl and Complan boy, Ayesha Takia and Shahid Kapoor? Before a new wave of Bournvita and Boost ads took over our TVs, this simple but powerful ad made us fall for the "planned kid's drink."

8Dhara refined oil

One thing everyone likes? Jalebi, of course. No wonder we can't get enough of this ad, even today! The star of the cutest advert ever is the kid, you'd agree.

9Ajanta Clocks

It wasn’t the first clock ad, and it certainly wasn’t the last. But if you can find a way to combine cuckooing of a clock, a cute grandmother, violins and saxophones in one spot, along with an unmatched punch line, then you've got a winner. Here's the proof.

10Aishwarya Rai's 'Donate your eyes' ad

It had Miss World Aishwarya Rai and her beautiful eyes, what else do you want?

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