“Buland Bharat ki…buland tasveer……..hamara bajaj”, as the jingle goes on in the TV with the familiar visuals of Bajaj scooter carrying different Indians through different roads in different cities and villages, the same sense of patriotism as we hear our national anthem would surge inside, not like we were watching any commercial for a private company.
Such was the association the ad could create in the minds of viewers that it became more popular than the product it was trying to sell. Or for that matter, Lalitaji who used to come in Surf commercials, she was literally talking to us like our next door neighbour or one of our relatives, that we used to own her up, and didn’t mind the commercial breaks in between the interesting serials.
Cut to the Liril ad, the bikini clad young lady in the waterfall, with a trendy “laa…laa…la…laa” tune in the backdrop made us feel the freshness of the soap. The man breathed life in everything that he created.
Known as the “Brand father of Advertising”, Alyque Padamsee belonged to a one-man tribe. There wasn’t another like him. Hailing from Kathiawar region in Gujarat, belonging to Khoja Muslim community, Padamsee had his early education in St. Stephens, Mumbai and was all through his life, attached to theatre, especially Shakespeare. Coming from a very traditional Muslim family, Padamsee was a rebel, an agnostic and a man who lived life as he wanted it. Credited with building one of the top advertising firms in India, Lintas, he had created more than 100 brands and is the only Indian voted in International Clio Hall of Fame, the Oscars of Advertising. Yet it was the theatre and drama that was close to his heart that he was attached to it until his last. His role as Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the Oscar winning movie Gandhi by Richard Attenborough in 1982 is etched in everyone’s memory.
Known for his unique and stylised voice and views, added by that trademark goatie and spectacles, Alyque Padamsee was every lady’s man. “The biggest secret to feeling young is to never stop meeting pretty girls. It’s one of the first things I learned in life. I was 19 when I fell in love with Pearl, my first wife. I wanted to marry her, and my parents, who were quite strict and rather traditional, asked me how I could when I didn’t have a job or money. And Pearl had two daughters from her previous marriage. But I defied my parents, and that’s how I ended up getting into advertising — my first job was as a copywriter, for Rs 300 a month.”, Alyque who never minces his words on anything told once about the secret of keeping himself young. He was later married to Dolly Thakore and then to the pop diva Sharon Prabhakar, and has children from all of them. He is also credited for creating the highly sensational Kamasutra condom ads with actress Pooja Bedi and model Marc Robinson.
Another memorable creation of Alyque Padamsee, is the iconic detective Karamchand, a serial by the same name that was very popular in Television during mid eighties, played by Pankaj Kapur and directed by Pankaj Parashar. Witty, whimsical and weird, yet with a dead pan face, the detective had all the attributes of Padamsee himself.
To quote him again, “I’m very happy to be alive and when I have to go, which will be in some time, I tell my friends, don’t grieve. Just say he lived a full life, falling in love with everything. That’s my philosophy – fall in love with life, every day.” True to his words, Alyque Padamsee lived his life every moment, and passed away at the ripe age of 90, leaving a lasting legacy of many of his contributions in the field of advertisements and art.