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Alyque Padamsee: An obituary to the Advertising Man of the Century

Alyque Padamsee, the Ad Guru whose name does not need an introduction. Like they say in some ad, “Sirf naam hi kaafi hai”.

Think of the man who has been referred to as the Advertising Man of the Century and think of the man who’s got more than 50 productions to his kitty, and think of the man whose brainchild is Lintas one of the top advertising agencies India has. Alyque Padamsee, the Ad Guru whose name does not need an introduction. Like they say in some ad, “Sirf naam hi kaafi hai”.

The critics and the cynics of whom are multifarious could support their arguments with hilarious wordplays, but once the jokes wear off, it is next to impossible to ignore Padamsee’s prodigy. After all, there are very few who can club the pain of vending Vanaspati with the rigors of dramatics.

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With his passing away today in Mumbai at the age of 90, passes away an era that changed the way advertisements were made, campaigns were launched and a connect was established directly with the consumer which is exactly what is aimed to be achieved by the advertisement industry. Better still, he took the creativity up a notch and helped so many amateurs to become creative experts thus honing their skills to paint a picture so perfect, only few could reach to the benchmark that he had set.

Born in 1928 into a traditional Khoja Muslim family hailing from the Kutch region of Gujarat, Padamsee was best known for playing Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the film Gandhi.

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Alyque Padamsee was also renowned for his theatre work including productions like Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Tuglaq. He also portrayed Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Richard Attenborough’s Oscar-winning film Gandhi.

Looking more closely at his journey, the chief executive of Lintas who was also an associate director on the board of Lintas Worldwide believes that it is the marriage of theatre and advertising in his life that has helped him to be a better communicator. With his signature simplicity intact, he says, “Advertising helps you stay in touch with people”.

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Albeit, he is one of the founders of the Natya Academy, he also took over Lintas from Gerson da Cunha and transformed the agency from an Rs. 7 crore midget to a 131 crore advertising giant.

He was the brain behind several iconic advertisement campaigns such as:

  1. Hamara Bajaj
  2. Cherry Charlie for Cherry Blossom Shoe Polish
  3. The MRF Muscle Man
  4. The Liril girl in the waterfall

Padamsee stands to be the only Indian to have been voted in the International Clio Hall of Fame for his film on handicapped people, with Clio being the Oscar of the advertising world.

In the planet of advertising, some would cite Padamsee’s USP to be his finesse to draw attention, no matter what he does. The fashion in which he works, for example, holding meetings in the car and working almost to no avail.