#AtoZChallenge – Letter L – Remembering Lalitaji


The Indian middle class woman of the 80s was never quite brand conscious. The ad agencies did try to address this anomaly but did not succeed to a great extent. The mid 80s gave birth to an iconic ad on TV, for the Surf detergent brand. This was the ad in which that lovely Lalitaji, epitomizing the Indian middle class woman, appeared clad in a clean, white saree jingling ‘Surf ki kharidari mein hi samajhdhari hai’ which meant Surf was the better and sensible choice. The ad was targeted at Nirma which was selling detergents at roughly a third of the price of Surf.

Ad wars on detergents aside, the Lalitaji commercial gave a new dimension on the Indian middle class to TV viewers. The sense of appearing in clean, white clothes probably did not appeal to them before. The whiteness displayed in the ad deeply influenced their minds into thinking ‘my saree/my husband’s shirt should be whiter than her saree/her husband’s shirt’. What better way to make clothes whiter than Surf? Of course, the face of Lalitaji appealed to them immensely as well. The viewers were being reminded that there’s more than Hema Malini to models. A middle class model was being cast as Lalitaji. Even the name suggested simplicity. This detergent ad was such a standout that it adds to the other nostalgic moments of that time. It was created by Alyque Padamsee, the same man who played Jinnah in the movie ‘Gandhi’!

Kavita Chaudhury played Lalitaji with aplomb in that TV commercial. She would go on to portray Kalyani in a memorable and inspiring soap ‘Udaan’ (Flight). Lalitaji was the face that launched millions in sales for the Surf brand across the country. It was the face of the Indian middle class woman of the 80s. A mention of India of the 80s will be incomplete without Lalitaji.

Written as part of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge – http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/



I'm an avid reader and writer. Reading gets me a feeling of understanding the world through different perspectives and writing helps me outline my thoughts from the cobwebs that the mind has trapped it in!

12 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge – Letter L – Remembering Lalitaji

  1. It is funny how ads really try and sell things to us. I just buy the detergent that is on sale, but lately I have been thinking about making a more natural detergent. Some people wash their clothes in a mixture of borax and washing soda, which gets clothes white, but is all natural without the artificial fragrance found in some detergents.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s