During the times when the villain used to hold the stage with aplomb, one of the consistent features of his den or his office or whatever, would be stacks of VAT 69 bottles adorning the backdrop. Whatever be the shot VAT 69 would form an illustrative part of the background. But as the role of villains got diffused and the main actors started enacting the role of negative characters, to protect their image otherwise, they gave up the bottle.
The manufacturers of VAT 69, which celebrated its 125 year would indeed be thankful to the Hindi films in popularizing the brand in a big way, which Vat 69 manufacturers on their own would not have been able to do.
The last time when VAT 69 was seen in a predominant manner was fleetingly in RETURN OF DON, incidentally in the original DON when Big B was enacting the character of DON the bottles of VAT 69 formed an interesting backdrop to the seat that he commandeered. As a matter of fact for Big B the bottle of VAT 69 was an interesting prop in his second most successful film DEEWAR. Rewind to the scene where Big B is in his bedroom along with Parveen Babi and both are sipping on VAT 69 and contemplating about their future.
In the black and white era of Hindi films if there was one actor who can be called as the brand icon for VAT 69, it was Rehman. May be Ajit would have picked up from where Rehman left off, as till the time when Ajit used to enact the role of villains, apart from cigarette and Mona his other eternal companion was VAT 69. He was not to be seen with any other bottle of whisky but VAT 69. Prem Chopra followed Ajit with an elan as the brand ambassador of VAT 69 in the films and Pran was another actor who used to have fond association with VAT 69 on screen whenever he played a baddie. May be, when he played the role of baddie once again in ANDHA KANOON it was a nostalgic trip to VAT 69 once again. An aura of exclusivity was created around the brand and this is what made it an object worth aspiring for among the aficionados.
Whenever the female actors were shown hitting the bottle, it was invariably the bottle of VAT 69, may be the course drinks would not have been palatable even on the screen, what to talk of in reality. Be it the drunken act of Meena Kumari in SAHEB BIWI AUR GHULAM, or SADHNA's scores of performances, it was the effect of VAT 69 that turned them tipsy. The in-film advertising of the products placed in a surrogate manner would surely find their moorings from the bottles of VAT 69 in Hindi films.
With the era of liberalization in full swing, plenty of international brands of Whisky have made their appearance on the showcases of the house of rich in the films, and VAT 69 has become a discounted commodity, but the long innings that it had with the Indian cinema would be a difficult feat to emulate.