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Wah Taj! Wah Zeenat!

Zeenat Aman in Taj Mahal Tea Ad
India’s finest CTC tea
Brooke Bond

Stronger liquor
Plus superb taste
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This Ad of Taj Mahal Tea featuring Zeenat Aman is from the year 1972. Zeenat Aman's film Hare Rama Hare Krishna had been recently released in the year 1971 making her the most famous Indian hippie and the quintessential Indian sex- symbol. This particular Ad could be older as she looks really young in it.
Who would have thought that kohl eyed Zeenat Aman could sell tea wearing a purple suit, big danglers in ear and having a centrally parted two-chowtyeed hair. Wah Zeenat! Wah!


Wah! Ustaad Wah!
Arre huzoor, wah Taj boliye

Wah Taj! catch line was adopted in the late 80s when tabla maestro Zakeer Hussain was employed (or rather his peculiar hair was employed) to promote the hazaron me ek chai.


This is the first post from the series on Vintage Indian Print Ads based on Ads I collected from an old edition of The Reader’s Digest
Check out rest of the Ads at the Index of Vintage Indian Print Ads


An interesting footnote:
While drinking her tea, for instance, she no longer posed as a society lady or model on a television commercial. Or if she did, we no longer noticed these poses as poses – they had entered the physical being of her character. Previously, while she drank tea, we would think: ‘Oh, she imagines that she’s Zeenat Aman on the Taj Mahal Tea commercial.’ Now we focused on the drinking of the tea itself, its relaxing effect and the change in the rhythms of the body.
Rustom Bharucha writing about Sulabha Deshpande in his book Theatre and the World: Performance and the Politics of Culture. Sulabha Deshpande, Marathi theatre artist, has also acted in critically acclaimed films like Salaam Bombay! and Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Ata Hai. She was a regular on Doordarshan and acted in many mainstream Masala movies too. For those who don’t recall her face: her recent film Monsoon



  1. In December 1974, Cine Blitz was launched with Rita Mehta, Russy Karanjia's daughter as its editor. The first issue of the magazine had Zeenat Aman on its cover and the inside pages had Protima Bedi running naked on Juhu beach.
    Read the complete story at Hindustan Times.

  2. Hey Good amount of information. but i would like to know more about what was the impact of the ad and what does that headline....India's ctc tea, SStronger liquor
    Plus superb taste
    To give you
    Total tea
    If anyone could help me with this....i would be very thankful

  3. CTC stands for "cut, tear, curl”, it is an automated method of tea picking. Don't know about the impact of this particular ad but Taj Mahal tea was one of the biggest brand of tea in India for a long time.


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