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God of advertising is no more

He led a double life, married thrice and left his mark in every field he was associated. He was outstanding, simultaneously promoting both his passion for theatre and his yen for advertising. The latter was his profession, which gave him his bread, butter and BMWs.

Alyque Padamsee an alumnus of St Xavier’s, Mumbai, Alyque began as a copywriter and rose to become the CEO of the iconic agency, Lintas. It was during his term at the helm of Lintas that the agency reached great heights. He is credited with masterminding some outstanding campaigns for brands like Liril, Surf, Bajaj, MRF and Kamasutra.
His plays in the 1960s, such as Tughlaq and Jesus Christ Superstar were phenomenally successful and established his reputation as a colossus in the theatre world. He unearthed, encouraged and polished talent which migrated from theatre to advertising. He mentored a variety of talent: actors, writers, advertising professionals, social activists, and was considered the gardener of talent.
Flamboyance was second nature to Padamsee. Vijay Menon, the former Secretary General of Asian Mass Communication Research Centre (AMIC) of Singapore, recalls a conference in Bangkok at which Padamsee was a speaker: `In the relatively staid academic environment, Padamsee’s presentation, marked by his characteristic showmanship, wowed the audience.’
Vijay Xavier, a former vice president of Lintas in Madras, fondly recalls his association with Alyque during the 1980s. “Alyque was a no-nonsense person.
A stickler for perfection, he would arrive at the venue of any presentation early to check on all the arrangements. He would scream if he found anything wanting. But for all that aggressiveness he was humane in dealing with people. He treated me like his son and always called me Beta.”
Baghu Ochane, now settled in Canada, who worked as a Deputy CEO under Alyque, shared an anecdote: ‘when we were discussing my annual performance and I mentioned that my philosophy in life was ‘Being Fair but Firm,’ he asked me to add one more ‘F’ – ‘Be Friendly.’
He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2000 for his contribution to the arts.
I was never fortunate to work with Alyque but listened to many of his brilliant presentations. I have watched several of his plays with admiration. He was an inspiration for my being a multi-tasker. His advice was “when facing a problem, the attitude should be wow, what a challenge, and not what a problem.” As a positive person, I also believed in saying ‘Ayya’ when facing a problem and not ‘Ayyo.’
Alyque’s passing away marks the end of an era. May his soul rest in peace!

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