How Lays could have co branded with the movie SHOLAY 3D (the idea that couldn’t reach the cinema hall)


Every individual working in the advertising domain would like to be remembered for one breakthrough campaign in his/her lifetime. Same was the case with me when I started my career in advertising field after completion of my post graduation.

As an amateur  marketing professional  straight out of college, I was bubbling with ideas. I started my advertising career with Percept group with one their divisions called as P9 Integrated (doesn’t exist anymore). Though I had a small stint in the company I found the place as a nurturing ground for ideas. In P9 Integrated, I was working in the merchandising department that catered to movies. The company was well known for in film brand placement. If you are hearing this term for the first time, it simply means strategically placing a brand in a movie either for brand awareness or for brand recognition.

Tiger security in the movie Bodyguard
Tiger security in the movie Bodyguard


Bournvita placed in movie Koi Mil gaya
Bournvita placed in movie Koi Mil Gaya

Related: Can movies be termed as brands?

In 2011, I was working with a team that was working on the pitch for one of the iconic movies of India – SHOLAY. Jayantilal Gada (Producer of Sholay 3D) planned to re-release the movie in 3D  for the millennials. His idea was to showcase the current generation what it meant to grow up with Sholay.

sholay-3d poster

You will rarely come across a person in India who is not aware of all the famous dialogues such as:

“Tumhara naam kya hai Basanti?”

“Kitna inaam rakhe hai sarkar ne hum par? Poore pachas hajar”

Ye haath muje dede Thakur…….

Before I get into the details about the campaign here are few facts about SHOLAY.

  1. The film was the first to enjoy a 25-week run in over 100 cinemas.
  2. It took 40 retakes before the scene featuring the line “kitne aadmi they” was finalized.Mac
  3. Mohan’s character, Sambha had only one line in the film, but he is still referred to as ‘Sambha’.
  4. The rocks around the area are still referred to as Sholay-
  5. Though released on August 15, 1975, Sholay was launched on 2nd October 1973.
  6. rocks and are now a tourist attraction.
  7. Shekhar Kapoor quoted “There has never been a more defining film on the Indian screen. Indian film history can be divided into Sholay BC and Sholay AD.“

40 facts you didn’t know about Sholay

We, as a team, started brainstorming on the ideas for Sholay 3D. We were looking for brands that could either be part of the movie or be a part of promoting the movie. I, being a fresher was bit shy to share my crazy ideas with more experienced people the room. During that course of time, I happened to see a Lays packet in my colleague’s hand. (Ting!!!! euphoria moment) . I shared the idea with my team “What if we get Lays on board? If you notice both Sholay and Lays have the word LAY in common. Bang on.

An idea by Tausif Mulla

This idea made everyone go nuts in the room. At that moment, I had a feeling, this could be the ONE campaign for me. We all started planning on the campaign. Now, that my idea was accepted and very much appreciated I started to share more ideas on the campaign. Below are few ideas that I worked on the co-branded SHOLAYS campaign.

  • TVC with Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra on Harley Davidson or Royal Enfield eating Lays and talking about all these years.

Sholay bike scene

  • Lays introducing an exclusive taste & packaging for Sholay

Lays Sholay flavor

  • Buy  Lays pack to find out fun facts about Sholay

Fun fact inside Lays pack

  • Are you Jai or Veeru? An online campaign on social media talking about traits of both personalities and asking the user to take a fun test to get the result.

Sholay characters on Facebook

  • SMS the code inside the pack to get a chance to meet the cast of Sholay – Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Hema Malini and Jaya Bachchan.

Lays inside pack

With all these ideas of mine I was confident (to be honest over confident) this would turn out to be big. Like Sholay had a twist where Jai dies, my campaign in making got a twist. The movie got into trouble due to the copyright held by the Sholay Media and Entertainment Pvt Ltd. Ramesh Sippy the original director of the movie was in dispute with his nephew Sasha (son of Vijay Sippy) over the copyright issue of the film.Times of India report

I was very much disappointed as all my hard work went in vain. With a pinch of salt, I moved on too. Months later, Percept Ltd decided to shut down the division P9 Integrated. I moved to another agency and carried on with my crazy ideas 🙂

The official trailer fo Sholay 3D was launched on 7 November 2013 and was finally released on 3rd January 2014. As per box office report, the movie didn’t do well as expected. Movie critique Rajeev Masand quoted ” The movie was targeted to the current generation but completely ignored to make the noise ”

Though I never got an opportunity to be part of Sholay 3D again but this un executed campaign has a special place in my heart.

Do you think, if the producers had used these ideas it would have become a successful movie? Would love to hear from you.





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