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Top 6 Nostalgic Indian Brands from the 80's and 90's

Updated: Sep 14

There are not a lot of things around these days that remind you of your childhood. Some of them do exist in some corners of your city or town, and some have been erased completely or reduced to a low hum. It can be waiting in front of the Plaza Theater in Bangalore for the only tickets to an English movie you can obtain in the city. It can also be the quaint little telephone booth with the landline being able to make "Trunk" calls.

Plaza Theater Bangalore

However, there are still a few remnants of Bangalore's past that go beyond mere nostalgia and provide fond functionality in your life. Here are some such nuggets of nostalgic Indian brands of the 80's and 90's that you can still savor when time permits.

1. Harnik Sweet Cigarettes

These were the coolest candy to possess quite literally with their minty flavor and the fact that they were molded into a cigarette shape. Also called Phantom brand sweet cigarettes, this candy was highly coveted and traded kids' equity.

Phantom Sweet Cigarettes

The appeal of the candy cigarette to kids was obvious - you could play-act like a grown-up who is smoking without actually coming into contact with any tobacco. This is why kids wanted to buy and consume it - but not before posing with it like it was a real cigarette!

That being said - smoking actual cigarettes is injurious to health.

2. Campco Chocolates

Before Cadbury established its foothold in India, Campco chocolates reigned supreme with my favorite being Turbo white chocolate bar. There is also the set of chocolates from Campco that gave one free cartoon stickers such as He-man for buying them.

Now of course the chocolate market has been overrun with varieties of different kinds without giving Campco a chance to catch up in urban areas at least.

Here's another fun read '80s and '90s Cartoons I Grew Up With- Part I and don't miss The '80s and '90s Cartoons I Grew Up With - Part II

3. Nostalgic Indian brand colas - Torino, Gold Spot, and Citra

Mirinda and Fanta could not hold a candle to Torino and Gold Spot on their best day and Citra was preferred to 7up. The other day I caught a glimpse of the Torino factory in Bangalore which still is functional today.

80s and 90s Cola such as Gold spot and Citra

While Torino lives on as a brand under the Benguluru Soft Drinks Limited, Parle's Gold Spot and Citra are no longer available in the market. In 1993 Citra was bought by Coco Cola to introduce their own spin on a lime drink - Sprite.

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4. Poppins and Rola Cola

Poppins hard candy was one of the most fun candies that Parle came up with, and just like Skittles, it had the colors of the rainbow in it. While this was plenty of fun, Parle upped the game with their Rola Colas which was basically Coke-flavored candy.

Poppins and Rola Cola

I love the Rola Cola as they tasted exactly like a soft drink in candy form. However you'd end up eating too many too fast getting you nauseous until you stopped and started the process all over again.

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5. HMT Watches

Before Titan, Fossil, Casio, and so on, there was Hindustan Machine Tools Limited which made watches that last for a lifetime and then some. Everyone had one, and it made for a great gift to anyone you cared about. HMT watches were and still are known for their unmatched quality in design and craftsmanship.

HMT Watches

While HMT has officially shut down since 2016, in its heyday, their Janata and Pilot watches were all the rage. Now, however, all that remains is some inventory that can be bought online from their store or a museum where their story is displayed.

Bonus read Aachar & Co. Depicts the Middle-Class Family as the Comedy Lead

6. Amar Chitra Katha

Established in 1967 by Anant Pai (Uncle Pai) in Mumbai, India - Amar Chitra Katha (ACK) Comics was India's answer to Marvel and Detective Comics. ACK Comics had and still has amazing illustrations to aid in telling stories of India's historical figures and epics of Kings and cultural folklore. It was comics steeped in tradition, mythology, and fact.

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