From Kurkure To Cadbury 5-Star, 5 Hilarious Indian TV Ads
Image Credit: Juhi Chawla in Kurkure ad. Screengrab via YouTube

Indian advertising has always been known for its creativity and ability to capture the attention of viewers. In the realm of food advertisements in India, the early 2000s witnessed a wave of unique and memorable campaigns that left a lasting impression on audiences. From Bollywood stars endorsing snacks to humorous characters promoting popular brands, these advertisements showcased a blend of entertainment, quirk, and effective marketing strategy.

Kurkure (Ads featuring Juhi Chawla)

Juhi Chawla was in a series of Kurkure ads which kicked off in 2004, of which the most bizarre was perhaps the “Tedhi Mummy” advertisement. In the ad, Chawla initially plays a string of stereotypical Indian mothers depicting the various roles they play in their kid’s life. But all of this goes for a complete toss once she bites into a masaledar Kurkure. The “apni favourite mummy” gets a tattoo, supports her child banging drums at a recording studio and puts a paper bag over her head to avoid the teacher’s complaints at her kid’s parents-teacher meeting. While she doesn't really speak at all in this commercial, it does feature the iconic Kurkure tagline: “Tedha hai par mera hai,” and that will forever be associated with her.

Maggi Tomato Ketchup

Jawed Jaffery and Manoj Pahwa are both well-known actors known for their comic timing. They shared the screen in one such ad, where the duo created magic with Jaffery as the convict and Pahwa as the prison cop. During meal time Pahwa delivers a flying saucer of a stiff roti that gets stuck in the wall. It was stiff enough for Jaffery, the convict to pry open one of the floor tiles, where a stash of Maggi ketchup bottles awaited. His “20 saal ki jail without bail,” went by quick with the ketchup making unappetising jail meals, actually tasty. The rhyming dialogues add to the hilarity of the ad, with the cop left to scratch his head as to how the convict could enjoy the barely edible meals. 

Namaste India Desi Ghee

Namaste India Desi Ghee released a series of ads with Akhilendra Mishra as the grim reaper or the desi Yamraaj. In one of those commercials, he gets embroiled with an “Auntyji” who bids her time to delay her passing. She feeds fluffy pooris and gajar ka halwa made with ghee to the Yamraaj, who awed by her cooking asks if she could cook for him in heaven as well. She eventually ends up striking a deal with the God of Death. And why not? Heaven does not have the Namaste India Desi Ghee after all. The Yamraaj does not stop there, he comes back in subsequent ads to sample “Auntyji’s” cooking as well as trying to keep his job by coaxing her to the afterlife. He even gets his assistant Chitragupt to convince her, who also succumbs to her delectable cooking, because “swarg toh wahi hain jaha Namaste India Desi Ghee hain.”


This ad does not have a celebrity endorsing it, but it is still hilarious. It features a robbery gone wrong where the thieves break into a home and tiptoe around snoring people. They make it past the wealthy old man, the owner, who is also snoring away, and reach the safe to find their loot. All was well until they pick up the Hajmola candy in the safe, which leads to the “chatkara”. This was the alarm that wakes up everyone who nab the thieves because when it's “Hajmola audio candy, sound toh aayega hi”. Who needs an alarm when there is a tasty lip-smacking candy? 

Cadbury 5-Star

The duo of Ramesh and Suresh became synonymous with Cadbury 5-Star in the early 2000s with a slew of ads that became extremely popular. One of the most notable advertisements was the one with the busy tailor where the duo comes in with an errand of altering a pair of trousers for their father. And there begins the memorable dialogue- “pitaji ki patloon, ek bilang choti kardo,” where the twins hand over the trousers to the busy tailor and bite into the Cadbury 5-Star chocolate bar. With each bite, they seem to go into a trance and end up transforming the full-length pants into a pair of shorts. The busy tailor couldn't register the fact that with every bite, the pants got smaller. There is also a follow-up that records the father’s reaction and that too is no short of being hilarious just like this one. 

Absolutely bizarre but nostalgic, aren’t they? Just like Bollywood most of these ads come with a catchphrase that lingers long after the ad has ended. Whether or not you buy the product, these surely have unlocked a core memory. This was one of the golden eras of Indian advertisements and controversial as they might be in today’s light, they were a delight to watch on TV.