On a Personal Note: Alyque Padamsee

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Geetanjali Minhas | August 14, 2015




Alyque Padamsee, the adman who has built over 100 brands, is also a bestselling author, actor and a great orator. He has 70 major English theatre productions to his name. Famous for his portrayal of Mohammad Ali Jinnah in Richard Attenborough’s film Gandhi, Padamsee has won many awards and is regarded as a genius. He is the only Indian to be voted into the International Clio Hall of Fame, the Oscars of world advertising. The popular Liril girl is one of the timeless creations of Padamsee. That advertisement is going to be relaunched nearly two decades after it went off-air. At present, he is guiding Mumbai police on their campaign against eve teasing and sexual molestation.

The book I am reading: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. It’s about Paris in the 1920s, peopled by characters like Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, James Joyce, F Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound and dozens of other geniuses.

What I enjoyed the most in:
Advertising: Liril was my first and most joyful experience of creating a character that India fell in love with.
Theatre/Acting: I have been enacting the lead role in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman on and off for the last 50 years. Currently this production is in its fifth reincarnation.
Writing: My autobiography A Double Life which took me seven years to complete. My next book, Big Ideas That Can Change The World, I have been writing for the past 15 years.
Corporate training: I deliver talks on every human activity under the sun and even under the moon. But the most helpful one is, ‘Don’t Retire, Instead Re-Tyre’.
Advising educational institutions: I have advised Mumbai University to set aside the last 10 minutes of every period for Q&A sessions with students.
Advising government: I worked with former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on commercialisation of television. I was appointed creative adviser to Doordarshan at the start of this century.
Activism: I founded Izzat Ki Fauj to deal with eve teasers on the streets of Mumbai. I am a founder trustee of Akanksha, an NGO for the education of slum children.

Brands I loved creating: Liril of course is my favourite and the award-winning campaign which was discontinued 20 years ago, is now making a comeback this year. Freshness never dies.
Cherry Charlie for Cherry Blossom shoe polish brought fun to shoe polishing.
Lalitaji for Surf became one of the most well-known women in the country.
Kamasutra Condoms that stated quite boldly that condoms were for making love and nothing else.

Good governance means:
Taking the blame when you fail

One thing I wish I could change: The curse of discrimination

My greatest inspiration: Life… which I fall in love with every day

My favourite pastime: Ideating

My comfort food: Bhelpuri

I take care of my health by: Not exercising

Something that nobody knows about me: I was a very shy boy

A memorable moment: Meeting my first wife Pearl at the St Xavier’s College dramatics club

My motivation to live comes from: Improving everything I find wrong

My greatest blessing: High energy and restless creativity

My sense of humour comes from: Mahatma Gandhi who said: “I would have committed suicide long ago if I did not have a sense of humour”

At present I am busy with: Production of Death and the Maiden play in Kolkata via Skype.
Delphic Youth Games as special adviser. It’s a cultural festival for young people to be held in Goa early next year.
Writing my book, Big Ideas That Can Change The World.
Working on a new play with my daughter Shazahn.
Looking for a large godown that I can convert into a mini-theatre.
Setting Shakespeare to rock music.
Presenting Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in which a woman is playing the role of Caesar.
Solving the flooding problem of Mumbai once and for all.
Planning for turning the BMC into a private sector corporation.

My advice to young generation: Break out of the traditional parent trap
If not Alyque Padamsee I would be: Unhappy
An aphorism I live by: Fall in love with life every day
I want to be remembered as: An ideator who rebels against status quo

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