He was the doyen of advertising and a master story teller. Yet, for many from the city, he was that key ingredient that made them embark on their chosen careers. His jacket-clad, honesty-spurting vision and ideas were a part and parcel of the persona that Alyque Padamsee emanated. His flamboyance, swagger, love for the limelight and mastery of his trade, be it advertising or theatre saw twitter verse rampant with tweets. The man who portrayed Mohammed Ali Jinnah in Gandhi passed away on Saturday aged 90, after an illness, according to his daughter Raell Padamsee’s team in an official statement. He was cremated in Worli on Sunday amidst family, friends and well-wishers. The theatre and ad fraternity in Bengaluru recall how he left an indelible impression in their lives.
The father of Indian advertising who was known for iconic ads like Lalitaji for Surf, the Liril girl, etc and his theatre contributions in Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar and Tughlaq, leaves behind a legacy that will live on.
Renowned theatre person and actress Arundhati Nag recalls her interactions with Alyque, “My fondest memory with Padamsee was during a shoot when we went out to eat golgappas and spent some time together. This disturbing news has shaken me all of a sudden. He inspired me a lot. May his soul rest in peace.”
There are people that influence a generation, and Padamsee has done splendidly so in two diverse professions. Theatre person, director and restaurateur Arjun Sajnani recalls his interactions, “He was a legend if there ever was one. He brought a lot of class and panache to the industry. I remember seeing him in The Madwoman of Chaillot in Delhi early on, before I went to the US. It was really a seminal moment for me, as it inspired me to get into theatre. Every time he watched my productions, Madame Butterfly or Kiss of the Spiderwoman, he always said well done. He was always telling me to make another film. Now, his rock solid theatre family is carrying on his legacy. His savviness and wisdom was unequivocal. He led a good and rewarding life, and loved being in the limelight, that was a part of his personality”
Saurabh Saksena, Group CEO, Ogilvy and J Walter Thompson Group, Malaysia, was also inspired by Alyque Padamsee, enough to join the advertising industry. Saxena says, “Sadly, I never got to meet him, but I had heard about him so much. He inspired me to join the industry. I remember I did my summer internship with Lintas in 1992, where stories of Liril and Lalitaji dominated. There are legends who take a lifetime before being recognised, and he was a legend that surpassed many others.”
There are many other stories of his inherent directness and clarity of purpose. Theatre and film actor Suchitra Pillai recalls, “I had not worked with him but I have met him in my 25 year-long career in theatre and films. He was such a friendly person. Even though people used to get intimidated by him, I never felt that way. He was always welcoming and encouraging. He came for all my plays with other theatre directors. He always had a smile for people, and I know that it has been said that he was quite a task master to people who worked under him, but people have only gained from Alyque Padamsee. He was a man who lived his life to the maximum and 90s is definitely a life well lived and experienced. So many people loved him.”
A Bengalurean who is now based in Mumbai, Vasudha Narayanan, founder of icrewedup.com, recalls how the creative fraternity were always learning from him, “When I was in Mudra, he had dropped into our Bangalore office. And he saw a proof of my latest print ad, and stuck a note on it. Brilliant work, Vasudha. I want to work with you! I never did get to work with him. My loss.”...