A decade after designing and building exhibitions for the Mahindra & Mahindra group, we were given the responsibility for the Auto Expo in 2000. This was an important and significant project as M&M were to launch their new marque, the Scorpio. However, as things turned out, the Scorpio was not yet ready to be unveiled to the world, and we were in a situation where we had no "hero" car to pivot the design on. We had the entire stable of M&M vehicles but not the one that would be the head-turner.
Nevertheless, we found a way to make the space exciting-an entire hall in New Delhi's Pragati Maidan-and established the brand prominently in the auto industry. Taking a cue from Bollywood, we created a mix of sets and hoardings using their vehicles as props. A huge cube sat in the centre made of one way glass displaying the group's new logo. Around this, scenes typical of Bollywood movies unfolded. A village fair attacked by dacoits it, causing two sons to be separated from their family. A chawl, a tenement setting in Bombay, where the lost son lives, driving a Mahindra auto, inspired by real-life actor Govinda. The other son, a police officer driving a Mahindra Jeep, inspired by a typical Hindi film character usually played by Amitabh Bachchan. Another scene follows in the dacoits- hideout, with their leader riding a Mahindra sports Jeep. A beautiful young woman is held captive and both separated brothers, unaware of their common paternity, land up to successfully rescue her. Both brothers fall in love with her until the final scene where the brothers battle it out with the dacoits. A Mahindra armoured Jeep figures here. The dacoit leader dies as does the brother who was separated, and the other brother wins the girl.
A happy ending has as its finale a Bollywood style dance number choreographed by Astad Deboo. The dancers are in the glass cube and reveals them in all their filmy glory to the audience who they cannot see because of the one-way mirror. The dance energy is the climax to the show which made the Mahindra and Mahindra exhibition the most popular of that year's Auto Expo.