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Aishwarya Rai — Blog

Superstars before they were ‘Super’!

They are now the superstars that most of the nation is crazy about, but long before they embarked on the journey to stardom, they all were normal individuals toiling it out for their share of the limelight. Once they hit the big screen, they have ruled it from the word go; be it Salman Khan, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan or Vidya Balan et al. What made it easier for them and for their long-standing innings is the fact that these stars are superbly talented and have proved that they have the acting skills to make it big in the industry with their power-packed performances.

But do you remember when they first hit the limelight, albeit off the big screen? Do you know about their debut performances which weren’t their first on-screen offerings? Here we have compiled a list of ad films that these stars did, way back at the very beginning of their career much before their first movies.

Salman Khan
Who doesn’t know him? Voted the 7th Best-Looking Man in the world by People magazine, Salman’s looks continue to turn heads across the globe. Long before Maine Pyar Kiya or even before Biwi Ho to Aisi, Salman Khan was seen in a cold drink commercial.

Deepika Padukone
Deepika Padukone walked straight into the hearts of millions with her dual role in her debut Bollywood release, the blockbuster Om Shanti Om. Winner of many many awards, the daughter of famous badminton player Prakash Padukone, as a teenager she played badminton in national level championships, but left her career in sport to become a fashion model. Take a glimpse at her in this toothpaste ad.

Shahid Kapoor
At the height of the Kuch Kuch Hota Hai phase, this cool drink ad brought together superstars Rani Mukerji, Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol with a very young Shahid. But he actually started off as the adorable ‘Complan boy’ with Ayesha Takia, before venturing out into music videos with the ‘Aryans’ and then paved his way to stardom.

Ayesha Takia
Ayesha Takia also happened to feature in the same advertisement as Shahid Kapoor, as the ‘Complan girl’. Armed with an adorable smile and pigtails, Ayesha was the cutest kid on the block then.

Preity Zinta
She was noticed in this ad for her cute looks and bubbly attitude. And before long she was picked up for a dream debut opposite Shah Rukh Khan in Dil Se. Notice the sparkle in her eyes and her natural exuberance in this ad.


Rajkumar Hirani
Long long ago much before he became one of the finest and most successful directors of all time in the Indian film industry, Rajkumar Hirani was an ad-man and here we see him as the merchant  who is insisting that we buy the brand with the elephant logo.

Diana Penty
She made her memorable and much-appreciated acting debut in the commercially successful romantic comedy Cocktail alongside Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone.  But she had actually begun modelling in 2005, walking the ramp for Italian designers Trussadi and Ferre. But much before that, she featured in a mobile phone ad, along with Genelia Deshmukh and Ranbir Kapoor.

Genelia Deshmukh
The cute and talented actress was just 15 years old when she bagged her first ad commercial after being spotted at a wedding, where she was dressed as a bridesmaid. She shared screen space with none other than veteran actor, Amitabh Bachchan in her debut ad for a pen brand.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Much before she was crowned the most beautiful woman in the world, Aishwarya was better known as ‘that-beautiful-girl’ from the cool drink ad. Even though it features Aamir Khan, she stole the show hands down.

Vidya Balan
Vidya Balan is now known for her author-backed roles and power-packed performances. Everyone remembers her from the TV serial Hum Paanch but do you remember Vidya playing a South Indian wife in a idli batter ad?

India’s top ad gurus

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They can captivate you, make you laugh out loud, start debates or merely flip the channel. Ads have the power to make you sit up and take note – good or bad.

Beautiful and touching to bold and controversial, some of India’s most creative minds have been behind memorable ads.

Here’s presenting some of the country’s top ad men, who not only changed the face of ads in India but have given us some memorable commercials as well.

Piyush Pandey

Piyush Pandey

Piyush Pandey

The No 1 ad man in the country is undoubtedly, Piyush Pandey, the Executive Chairman and Creative Director of Ogilvy & Mather India. The ad guru is responsible for coining the defining slogan for PM Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha campaign, “Ab ki baar, Modi sarkaar”. This slogan helped in fetching delightful results for the current government during the elections.

The big daddy of Indian advertising has had a long and remarkable career at O&M. He is also the man behind popular ads like Cadbury’s – Kuch Khaas Hai, Fevicol – Fevicol ka mazboot jod, Asian Paints and even Fevikwick.

Thanks to Pandey, O&M today is one of the most sought after ad agencies in the country.

Watch the old Fevikwik ad here:

Prasoon Joshi

Prasoon Joshi

Prasoon Joshi

Poet, lyricist, script writer and ad man – Prasoon Joshi wears many hats. Having begun his career at O&M, Prasoon is now the Chairman of McCann World Group Asia Pacific.

He is the man behind notable commercials like Alpenliebe Chlormint, Thanda matlab Coca-Cola (which won an award at Cannes) and many more.

Joshi was conferred the Padma Shri this year and has also composed the anthem for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Check out Aamir Khan in the award-winning Coco Cola ad:

R Balakrishnan

R Balki

R Balki

The Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Lowe Lintas, is also known as the filmmaker R Balki. Balki’s agency recently picked up three Gold Lions at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in 2014.

Some of Balki’s popular works have are Daag Achche Hain for Surf Excel, Jaago re for Tata Tea and the Walk And Talk for Idea Cellular. Balki is also the one who captured the late superstar Rajesh Khanna in his last ad for Havells fans.

Watch Rajesh Khanna in the Havells fan ad:

Sam Balsara

Sam Balsara

Sam Balsara

A prominent figure in the Indian advertising industry, Sam Balsara has over 30 years of experience in the ad world. The Founder, Chairman & Managing Director of Madison World, Sam’s company has worked with the most prominent brand available in the market.

And not just that, Madison worked along with Team Modi to pull off the biggest political campaign the country has ever seen.

Prahlad Kakkar

Prahlad (1)

Prahlad Kakkar

Who can ever forget Aishwarya Rai’s first ever TVC. “Hi! I’m Sanjana. Got another Pepsi?” mouthed Ash. And since then she has never looked back. The man behind the discovery and the commercial, Prahlad Kakkar is a brand guru and a man behind Genesis.

Candid, bold and sometimes just outrageous, Kakkar’s ad campaigns have captured the imagination of the county.

Some of his memorable campaigns have been for brands such as Pepsi, Kit Kat and Maggi.

Watch Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in her first-ever TVC

Arvind Sharma

Arvind Sharma

Arvind Sharma

Arvind Sharma has been the longest-serving CEO of an ad agency, having headed Leo Burnett as chairman and CEO for 21 years. When he quit Leo Burnett in 2013, in a way it was an end of an era.

A veteran, Sharma has been the force behind popular ads like McDonalds, award winning radio ads like Tata Salt Lite, Thumbs Up, Tide and more.

Sharma has now turned entrepreneur with the e-commerce venture, indiasarihouse.com.

Josy Paul

Josy Paul

Josy Paul

In the last two years, the man behind BBDO India and RMG David has won more awards at Cannes and Spikes Asia than any other creative in India.

Having been part of O&M and Lowe Lintas, Josy formed his own company and has been the mind behind Johnson’s Baby Cream, Pillsbusry, Visa Debit card and more.

Taking a different route from conventional advertising, Josy’s ads are steeped in social messages like Aviva’s Great Wall of Education, Gillette’s Women Against Lazy Stubbles etc.

Watch Josy Paul talk about the craziest way he sold an idea: