This is our "Indian Movie Thermos" timeline, outlining the thermoses we've recorded during our studies so far. The middle portion of the timeline -- between 1960 and 1987 -- shows what we consider to be "the reign of thermoses in Indian films," though we cannot give 100% accurate starting and ending dates...we assume that there are more thermoses out there still waiting to be found. That's why we left some space at the beginning and the end of the timeline. We don't want to be caught with our pants down.
The earliest known Indian Movie Thermos appeared in 1966's "Teesri Manzil," hidden in the background of one of the sets. It did not have any sort of role in the movie and remained stationary throughout, garnering approximately one minute of screen time. Like most thermoses it appeared to be primarily for storing hot liquids, and it may have come equipped with a shoulder-strap. We consider this thermos to have been a sort of "test" to see how audiences would feel about seeing thermoses in their movies.
They must have responded with enthusiasm ("Please to understand that we love Asha and Shammi, but we wish to see them with more thermoses.") "Sawan Bhadon" (1970) was the answer to every thermos-lover's prayers. This film not only had TWO identical, very large thermoses in it, but those thermoses were essential to the plot. They had handles and pouring-spouts and appeared to be intended for both hot and cold beverages.
We consider 1966 to be the "Golden Age Of Indian Movie Thermoses." This was probably a great time to be a thermos in Bollywood, and I expect that many of them experienced an intense (but fleeting) fame of a kind not seen since.
After this triumphant time the Indian Movie Thermos went into a decline...presumably the producers of Bollywood films had found other ways to entertain their audiences. In 1982 a functional, stationary thermos appeared for a few moments in the film "Disco Dancer," but it was entirely incidental and was never handled by any of the actors. It may have even been accidentally placed there by one of the crew members during a tea break.
The disco-loving audiences of the 80's must have loved that accidental thermos, however, because the following year showcased Agar Tum Na Hote's "Plutonium Thermos," a device containing a core of detachable compartments, each one holding a different element of the typical Indian meal. This thermos was allowed at least one full minute of screen time, during which it was manipulated by the hero of the film and served as a suspenseful focal point. A small, barely-seen "auxiliary thermos" was visible during the movie as well, but the nature of that item remains a mystery.
What caused the Indian Movie Thermos to die out? Perhaps it became too large and difficult to operate, confusing the audience and causing an unwanted distraction during the scene. Perhaps an asteroid crashed into earth in the early 80's, destroying the Indian thermos factories and creating a cloud of dust that blocked out the sun for several years.
Until we get more information we will be unable to know exactly what happened. But rest assured that our research continues and that we seriously believe -- in our desperate, valiant little hearts -- that the reason behind the Mass Thermos Extinction will one day be revealed...and that we will be the ones to reveal it.