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Advertising aside, Alyque Padamsee was formidable in front of the camera as well and is perhaps best known for his role as Jinnah in Richard Attenborough’s ‘Gandhi’. Photo: HT
Advertising aside, Alyque Padamsee was formidable in front of the camera as well and is perhaps best known for his role as Jinnah in Richard Attenborough’s ‘Gandhi’. Photo: HT

Alyque Padamsee, father of modern Indian advertising, dead at 87

Often referred to as the Father of Modern Indian advertising, Alyque Padamsee built advertising agency Lintas India for over a decade as chief executive

New Delhi: Alyque Padamsee, advertising veteran, communication adviser and theatre personality, who created iconic ads such as Surf’s Lalitaji, Hamara Bajaj and Liril girl, passed away in Mumbai on Saturday. He was 87. He is survived by his two daughters and a son.

Padamsee had been a part of the advertising, branding and communication industry for five decades. Often referred to as the Father of Modern Indian advertising, he built advertising agency Lintas India for over a decade as chief executive. He also went on to become the regional coordinator for Lintas, South Asia.

He has been running AP Advertising Pvt. Ltd., a firm of image and communication consultants, which provides consultancy services to a number of national and multinational firms.

A still from the Liril ad conceptualized by Alyque Padamsee’s Lowe Lintas India.
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A still from the Liril ad conceptualized by Alyque Padamsee’s Lowe Lintas India.

In his advertising career, he built over 100 brands and iconic advertising characters such as Cherry Charlie for Cherry Blossom Shoe Polish, MRF Muscle Man, Kamasutra couple and the initial Fair & Handsome brand communication. He also created many public service campaigns on topics, including eve-teasing, AIDS and sexual molestation. He served as a social activist for the Citizens for Justice and Peace Committee, the Citizens Action Group, and was also on the advisory council of The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Bombay). He was also a part of the Prime Minister’s AIDS Task Force.

A still from Surf’s Lalitaji ad conceptualized by Alyque Padamsee.
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A still from Surf’s Lalitaji ad conceptualized by Alyque Padamsee.

Apart from advertising, he was known as a training specialist and communication adviser for business houses such as Aditya Birla Group, Mahindra and Mahindra, Bristol Myers and KPMG Group, among others. He was the chairman of the London Institute of Corporate Training, and had also served as an adviser to Chandrababu Naidu, the former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh.

Penguin Books published his autobiography about his years in the theatre and advertising industries, A Double Life, which went on to become a bestseller.

The Hamara Bajaj ad.
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The Hamara Bajaj ad.

Padamsee was also a formidable figure in the theatre fraternity. Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, London, he was distinguished both as actor and director with over 70 productions to his credit, including Jesus Christ Superstar, Man of La Mancha, A Streetcar Named Desire and Death of A Salesman.

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He has also acted in a few films. His role as Jinnah in Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi being a huge success. A short film by Padamsee on disabled children, Story of Hope, was voted into the International Clio Hall of Fame, also known as the Oscars of advertising. He was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi award for direction in 1986 and also received the Lifetime Achievement Award for theatre.

He also received the Padmashri in 1999 for his contributions to the field of advertising and theatre. The Advertising Club of Bombay named him the Advertising Man of the Century.

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