Salman Khan’s banian pursuit where the comedian is the villain

Lux Industries’ new ad (released in late August 2022) for Venus innerwear starring Salman Khan involves him chasing his banian flying all across the town starting with Salman’s own balcony from where the vest takes off.

The ad was conceptualized by Shreyansh Innovations and produced by Green Apple Entertainment.

As the star runs after the free-spirited banian through what seems like a very obvious studio set of a part of a town, other people from the town start to run after Salman for no obvious reason.

A couple of more scenes later—in which a lot more people from the town follow Salman, who also manages to dash into and communicate non-verbally with a girl for no obvious reason—Salman sort of “catches” the banian.

How he “catches” it in total filmy style befits the star’s on-screen persona 🙂

Now, as a narrative device, this is not new. I’m reasonably sure most of us may have seen a similar scene in a movie, across multiple Indian languages.

What usually happens is that the heroine offers a flying kiss, from her balcony or bedroom window to the hero who is standing below, on the road/town square. He’d make an exaggerated action of trying to catch it and in the process, a few of his friends may help him catch the imaginary kiss.

The Venus banian ad is mostly an extension of that scene. There’s no heroine, no flying kiss; instead, we have a flying banian, a relentless Salman, and very enthusiastic townsfolks.

But the second I finished watching this ad, my mind screamed that I have seen the exact same narrative in another new ad very, very recently. This is mostly because I watch at least 100+ new ads from across the world every single week.

After a day of intense back-of-the-mind searching, I finally got it!

The UK-based national lottery brand Camelot had roped in the agency adam&eveDDB to produce their new ad campaign as recently as late June 2022.

The narrative?

A man named Mo walks into a store asking the lady to check if his lottery ticket has won something. And sure, he had won. But as he’s celebrating his win, the lottery ticket escapes his grip and starts flying much like Salman’s banian. As he chases it all over town, a lot more people follow him since it’s a small town and everyone knows Mo.

After a lot of running around and edge-of-the-seat excitement, there’s a happy ending in the most unusual way – you’ve got to watch how it ends… yourself! 🙂

Now, there is one point that may tilt my thinking that the Lux Venus is not plagiarised.

The first one is the time of the release of both ads: late June 2022 vs. late August 2022. That’s just 2 months gap. An ad involving a top star like Salman Khan usually takes a lot of time in planning and execution (shooting, editing, etc.). Two months seems like a really short time for such an ad campaign to materialize.

However, it’s not implausible either. The Lux Venus ad is shot inside a studio set. There are readymade town sets available that may be already in use for TV shows and other requirements. And such an ad could definitely be shot and released from start to finish if the client had Salman’s dates readily available.

But there is another solid point that tilts my thinking that the Lux Venus ad is plagiarised.

Observe these chaps in both ads (0:19 – 0:22 in the Lux Venus ad; 0:37 – 0:42 in the Lottery ad) – they were most probably added for comic effect.

The guy in the Lux Venus ad starts off in a gully and dashes clumsily against a huge crate full of fruits. He falls flat because he couldn’t jump above the crates the way Salman did.

The guy in the Lottery ad enthusiastically announces, ‘Let’s do this’… and rams into a large crate of fruits!

If not for the guys who dash into the fruit crates in both ads, I’d have given Lux’s ad a generous benefit of doubt. But, because of that one scene and the unmistakable overall similarity in narratives, I’m unable to.

Ironically, the Lottery ad has been removed from YouTube by the brand (the one above is a re-upload from another YouTube handle) – this is most probably because I believe the ad uses music from the iconic film by Steven Spielberg, The Goonies!

I hope the agency and client change the music and relaunch the ad because it’s a very engaging watch!

UPDATE: Response from Vaishakh Jhunjhunwala, senior creative director, Shreyansh Innovations, via LinkedIn: