The simplicity of the ad and positioning the product for anytime consumption along with the family made Lijjat a huge sucess.
With a loan of Rs 80, seven Gujarati ladies started Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad. To grow their business, they wanted to advertise with a shoestring budget, far away from any fancy notions of stars and sets!
The mentor for the ladies Appi Umrani was looking for someone to direct the television commercial for Lijjat. He saw Ramdas Padhye, a ventriloquist in Bombay at a show in a five-star hotel. An impressed Appi asked Ramdas if he would be interested in direction. Padhye also had a show on Doordarshan which some of the ladies & Umrani had seen.
Ramdas felt it was only a small advertisement, not understanding that he would soon become a well-known personality. Anyway, he agreed.
“During my discussion with Appi I first thought of featuring Maharashtrian middle-class characters of DD but the plan could not materialize,” he says. Ramdas then suggested using a cute, lovable animal munching papad and making a funny crackling noise.
Appi was initially reluctant as he was sceptical about a rabbit eating papad. After a couple of days, Padhye physically presented the bunny to Appi. After a look test, Appi changed his opinion but Padhye was still not clear how the Rabbit would fit in. He assured Appi he would manage it somehow.
The script was written in a week but upon hearing it Padhye felt something was missing. After rejecting many ideas he decided to include laughter which is significant in the commercial.
The commercial was shot at a house in Mumbai with a basic set, low production values to bring out one of the most famous advertisements – many people eating papads with a rabbit puppet!
The bunny, its loud guffaws and the voiceover were all done by Ramdas Padhye.
When the producers asked Ramdas what kind of noise should emanate from the rabbit while he was eating the papad, he, without much thinking, uttered two words, “Kharram Khurram”.
The words ‘Kharram Khurram’ were used to show the crispy nature of the papad.
The film was made, but the producers were not happy. So, Ramdas listened to the background score and added laughter to it.
The simplicity of the ad and positioning the product for anytime consumption along with the family appealed to Indians. The papad came across as simple, accessible, tasty and desirable.