The God Of Advertising Takes A Final Bow

Alyque Padamsee

La lalalala la la la… The water cascading from the fall, a young woman in a green bathing suit enjoying a splash, and the soap named Liril.

The girl, Karen Lunel, became an overnight sensation and a woman with whom dreams are made of. She caught every man’s fancy in the 1970s, an image for unfulfilled desires.

The man behind all this has now taken his final bow and left life’s stage, never to return. Alyque Padamsee, who seemed immortal, called time on his life after getting to 90.

He was still the same – lean, bespectacled, wearing his eternal half jacket, with a smile on his face.

Padamsee was the God of Advertising, a man who conceptualised and created ads for more than a 100 brands.

He was the mentor for many, a guru who looked beyond the dull and dreary and came up with a disguised social message. He was a great communication trainer as well.

Those in the 1970s and 1980s associated advertising with Lintas, which attained great heights through Padamsee, its chief executive.

They also knew that during any theatre talk, Padamsee’s name would figure prominently. His contribution to English theatre as producer and actor has been immense. He did a few films too and played Jinnah in Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi.

His production of Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Tuglaq and Broken Images were much appreciated. He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London and has at least 70 productions to his name.

Through Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, he gave a big break to singer Sharon Prabhakar and made her a top star. She later married him but they broke off.

Coming from an affluent family, Padamsee had to leave home because he wanted to marry a Christian girl Pearl. He came to Mumbai and joined an advertising company, working for a mere 300 rupees.

The genius now had a canvas to start painting his colourful life.

Some of his iconic ads, apart from Liril, were Bajaj, Surf, Kamasutra and Cherry Blossom.

The Surf ad was inspired by his mother. According to a report, during his young days, Padamsee used to see his mother go to the market in a Mercedes and then bargain with vegetable vendor over a small amount. When asked about why she did it, she replied promptly that there is a difference between quality and value.

He used that for creating Lalitaji and Surf. There is also a social message in this. Woman in those days were not as emancipated as today and her life mostly began and ended at home doing housework.

Here Lalitaji is shown as an intelligent woman who can manage her finances along with her housework.

The Hamara Bajaj ad hails the family unit and its oneness through the Bajaj scooter. It reflects on the strong bonds of the family and their choice, with the word ‘hamara’ or us.

His Kamasutra condom ad was extremely bold for the time it was released with the sexy Pooja Bedi in sizzling postures. It was a huge hit.

And so was Padamsee throughout his life. He must be up there somewhere now thinking up a good copy for God.


Babu Kalyanpur

Babu Kalyanpur, ( Consulting Editor) has rich experience in both sports and business journalism. Babu has led news desks in Pune and Bahrain and writes extensively on his passion, sports and business besides current affairs and matters of importance to Pune.

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