Lalitaji to Hamara Bajaj, Revisiting Alyque Padamsee’s Best Ads

Here’s how late Alyque Padamsee modernised Indian advertising.

2 min read
Hindi Female

Popular ad filmmaker and theatre personality Alyque Padamsee passed away in Mumbai on Saturday, 17 November at the age of 90. A veteran in the theatre and advertising world, Padamsee was known as the mastermind behind several iconic Indian ad campaigns including Lalitaji for Surf, the Liril girl under the waterfall, Hamara Bajaj and the MRF muscle man.

80s and 90s kids would remember these ads in a heartbeat.


The Liril Ad

Such was the reach of Padamsee’s most popular ad that the Pambar Falls in Kodaikanal came to be known as the Liril Falls. The commercial with a bikini-clad model and the sheer liberation that she portrayed with the waterfalls standing in for the daily shower was a refreshing departure from the soap ads then. Over time, there were updates to the ad with the likes of Priety Zinta being featured. Truly, the father of modern Indian advertising, he made the swimsuit click with viewers in a rather conservative society.


Surf Excel’s Lalitaji

'Surf ki kharidaari mein hi samajhdaari hai' - if twitterati existed then, this clever line by sass personified ‘Lalitaji’ would be a gold mine of memes. K V Sridhar, Padamsee’s colleague and former chief creative officer of Leo Burnett revealed to a leading daily, how the idea was conceived. Padamsee had noticed how his mother would travel in a Mercedes Benz to the vegetable vendor and then bargain. When he asked her why, she explained, 'Beta, achchi cheez aur sasti cheez mein farak hota hai'. That’s how the no-nonsense woman who deserves the ‘thug life’ glasses - Lalitaji came to life.


The Bajaj Commercial

Buland Bhart Ki Buland Tasveer - the tune not only has a rousing, euphoric tenor but it also stands the test of time. Today, as the word ‘patriotism’ is bandied about regularly, the lyrics capture the sentiment without the aggressive jingoism that is usually associated with the emotion. Weaving a montage of the Chetak scooters in use then, the line came to symbolise pride and went beyond the TVC jingle. In the license raj there was a waiting period before one could own and ride a scooter or a vehicle. According to Business Standard, there was a need for the brand to be contemporised in the 80s and Padamsee did just that.


The Cherry Blossom Advertisement

And this one with the Charlie Chaplin mimicry was a pure delight with its old world charm. The theme almost became indelible and made for great brand recall, adding spunk to the mundane act of polishing shoes.

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Topics:  Advertising   Bajaj   Alyque Padamsee 

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