Ad guru. Theatre person. Advisor to Central Government. There’s just no stopping Alyque Padamsee’s rush of ideas. He talks about his passion for creative arts and ideas for the future.
Theatre in the family: If Alyque was instrumental in identifying the creative spark of Shyam Benegal in his advertising days, he continues to nurture young talent as part of his AP Advertising Pvt. Ltd and London Institute of Personality Training, where theatre techniques are incorporated. He talks fondly of his son Quasar Thakore Padamsee who runs Q Theatre Productions and daughter Rael who conducts workshops, but considers his first wife Pearl as the most dynamic theatre personality in India. “Dolly (Thakore) and Sharon (Prabhakar) have carried on the creative streak.”
Shahzahn on screen: “My youngest daughter Shahzahn surprised us all. After acting in Unspoken Dialogues, she said she wants to be an actor and nothing else. With Sharon’s help, she is grooming herself with acting, Bollywood dance classes, Kathak, and horse riding classes and so on. She is acting with Ranbir Kapoor in Yash Raj’s Rocket Singh, directed by Shimit Amin. She’s done a bunch of ads, including Airtel with SRK. I always thought Shahzahn was beautiful, but it’s nice to hear it from others.”
Class act: “After my role as Mohammad Ali Jinnah in Gandhi, I was offered roles but nothing interested me. I turned down Steven Speilberg’s The Temple of Doom; it was rubbish. I get offers even today, but the roles are silly. At one time, I was obsessed about making my play Thuglak (written by Girish Karnad, the play made Kabir Bedi a phenomenon) into a film with Amitabh Bachchan, but then he got hurt on the sets of Coolie, and the project cooled off. I never returned to films. Perhaps, I should ask SRK if he wants to do the role.”
Back on stage: “I am back to theatre, primarily Shakespeare’s works. Even after 500 years, his plays are being performed all over the world. Shakespeare’s characters are multi-dimensional, and stories, universal. I loved the way Vishal (Bharadwaj) adapted his plays in Maqbool and Omkara. Vishal is the best all-round Bollywood director and like Raj Kapoor, he has an ear for good music. Right now, I want to direct plays of high quality. I’m doing Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman with Gary Richardson, and will be directing a Girish Karnad play starring Shabana Azmi.”
What an idea! Padamsee was the communications advisor for Chandrababu Naidu during his tenure as Chief Minister of AP, and is now on the advisory panel for Manmohan Singh as communications expert (AIDS committee). “Ideas hold the key. I am also in the advisory council of IIT Bombay. As part of Golden Jubilee celebrations, we’ve announced a contest ‘10 great ideas that will change the world in the next 50 years’. The Nobel Prize recognises past achievements; we want to look into the future. My new book, Big Ideas = Big Change, is all about ideas.”
Seven–year licence: “The book will also discuss the concept of buying a marriage licence that will need to be renewed every seven years. I think that will make couples work harder and rejuvenate their marriage.”
Life’s rocking in the 70s: “Sixty is no age to retire. I conduct a training programme asking corporates not to retire but just ‘re-tyre’ and rejuvenate after 60.”