Known as the father of modern Indian advertising, Alyque Padamsee has to his credit iconic campaigns like 'Hamara Bajaj' and the Liril girl in the waterfall.

Ad filmmaker and theatre personality Alyque Padamsee passes away at 90Photo tweeted by Atul Kasbekar
news Death Saturday, November 17, 2018 - 11:47

Ad filmmaker and theatre personality Alyque Padamsee, also known for essaying the role of Mohammad Ali Jinnah in Richard Attenborough’s Oscar-winning film Gandhi, passed away on Saturday morning at the age of 90. He had reportedly been ailing for a long time.

Alyque was regarded as the father of modern Indian advertising and also founded Lintas, one of India’s top advertising firms. Iconic advertisement campaigns like ‘Hamara Bajaj’ and the Liril’s girl in the waterfall are credited to him.

Professional life

Born in 1928 into a business family in Kutch, Gujarat, Alyque lived a full life. He made his theatre debut when he was all of seven years old in the play Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare, under the direction of his brother Bobby Padamsee.

Alyque said while he had never been a good father to his children from multiple marriages, he had been a godfather to many, including filmmaker Shyam Benegal, actor Kabir Bedi and choreographer Shiamak Davar.

In the field of advertising, he worked with many eminent brands and actors. He directed film stars for Lux ads back in 1960s, and even worked with a teenaged Zeenat Aman for Signal toothpaste. He came up with the advertising for KamaSutra. Narrating how there were reservations about a condom ad, he told the Times of India in 2002 that they were finally able to rope in Pooja Bedi, whom they saw at a party, for the ad for a whopping Rs 7 lakh.

In theatre, Alyque is known for productions like Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar and Tuglaq.

He was conferred with the Padma Shri in 2000 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Tagore Ratna in 2012. 

Personal life

While Alyque’s family was a wealthy one, he understood much later the privileged and sheltered upbringing he had, when he had to leave his family home after he married Pearl, a Christian divorcee, against the will of his mother. It was then that he joined advertising by applying to an ad firm and worked at the salary of Rs 300 a month.

Alyque’s marriage to Pearl fell apart after they lost their daughter to nephritis, a kidney disease.

His second relationship was with Dolly Thakore, who got acquainted with him during his days in advertising. However, this also did not work out, as, by Alyque’s own admission, they did not have time for each other due to frequent travel.

“Be it Pearl or Dolly, separation was a painful experience for me. But if a relationship doesn’t work, I see no point in dragging it on,” Alyque said in a 2002 interview.

His third romance was with singer and public speaker Sharon Prabhakar. He married her, and said that it was Sharon who finally united his families, healed wounds and bruised egos.

He has two children with Pearl – daughter Raell and son Rahul Padamsee; a son with Dolly --  Quasar Padamsee, and a daughter with Sharon -- Shazahn Padamsee.

Condolences pour in

Many eminent personalities condoled Alyque Padamsee's death as messages of grief poured on social media.

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