Most film directors also make television ads or commercials from time to time. The biggest reason is that it pays well and moreover, the working period is also quite less as compared to that of a film. Vidhu Vinod Chopra too has jumped into the bandwagon, but rarely. His first time as an ad filmmaker was quite significant and he reveals about it in the book ‘Unscripted’, written by Abhijat Joshi. To begin with Vidhu Vinod Chopra reveals that while his 1989 film Parinda was made on a budget of Rs. 12 lakhs, the 2 minute long Pepsi ad, shot in 1990 cost Rs. 1 crore! Vidhu's fees, in fact, were Rs. 50 lakhs, a huge figure at that time.
The ad was shot to announce Pepsi's arrival in Indian market. Juhi Chawla featured in the ad along with thousands of extras. Vidhu admits in the book that he was terrified looking at the setup and the number of people present on the set, at Mehboob Studios, Mumbai. Vidhu Vinod Chopra roped in his favourite cinematographer, Binod Pradhan, for the ad shoot. He wanted all the extras to drink from the bottle of Pepsi. Since they didn't have access to the soft drink, the production got purple syrup made from jamun and mixed it with soda. To motivate the actors, Vidhu told them to imagine that there are few lucky ones in India to taste Pepsi before others. They were also made to say 'aah', and this bit became quite popular.
Moreover, Vidhu Vinod Chopra did a daring act. He put the camera trolley on the catwalk, which is situated at a height in the studio floor. Vidhu admits it was dangerous and he could have got grievously injured if he had fallen from the height. However, their risk paid off. The top shot was spectacular and still amazes viewers.
And thankfully, the Pepsi team loved it, not just in India but also overseas. Alan Pottasch, the vice-chairman and creative head of Pepsi called him to New York after seeing the ad. Vidhu, however, was given only 15 minutes to meet him. At the meeting, Alan Pottasch offered him to direct similarly creative ads for Pepsi in the Gulf region. Moreover, he was told that he'll be paid four times the amount, that is, approximately Rs. 2 crore.
Vidhu Vinod Chopra, however, refused this insanely tempting offer. Alan persuades but Vidhu doesn't relent. He felt he'll get corrupted if started getting obscene amounts for directing ads. Vidhu feared he wouldn't be able to make a genuine film like Parinda again then. Nevertheless, Alan Pottasch was impressed. He cancelled his next meeting and took Vidhu for lunch and also to a nearby town in his private plane.
Back in India, Mike Khanna, the biggest ad executive in India then, asked Vidhu if he would like to make more ads. Vidhu told him he'll do so only when he's broke.
In 1998, when Vidhu’s Bobby Deol starrer Kareeb bombed, he called Mike Khanna and told him that he'll make ads now as he's broke. Vidhu Vinod Chopra reveals that instead of sympathizing with him, Mike got happy and said, "That's the best news I've heard in a long, long time!"
This is how Vidhu Vinod Chopra came on board to make the ad announcing the launch of ICICI Bank. He asked Rs. 1 crore as his fees. K V Kamath, chairman of ICICI Bank, felt it
was too much. But Vidhu honestly told him that this money would help him make another film. Vidhu's logic convinced him and he was given Rs. 1 crore. Vidhu confesses that this amount helped him to produce and direct Mission Kashmir (2000), starring Hrithik Roshan, Preity Zinta and Sanjay Dutt.
More Pages: Parinda Box Office Collection
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