Last evening, I understood the true meaning of omnipresence. I touched it. I felt it. I embraced it. It was all around, and it impacted me with its mighty presence even as it overwhelmed the over 1,000 followers who had gathered in his name. ‘Remembering Alyque’ was meant to be a memorial service for the late Alyque Padamsee. Instead we sat enthralled and enchanted as we saw Alyque’s spirit dance and sing and laugh and cry as stories about his extraordinary life played out on stage. It was said, when he died, that Alyque would rise again. And so he did, through the soulful speeches and outstanding performances of a celebration of talented artists and leaders who have been blessed by him.
It was a theatre of pure love. Two hours of awe, respect and thunderous applause. The NCPA was houseful. Outside the crowds jostled to get inside. It was a Alyque play, and people were dying to get in. The place was packed with fans, friends, family, artists, activists, people from theatre, advertising and cinema. You could feel the creative energy in the air.
There were so many moments when my body shuddered with uncontrollable emotions. To hear Quasar speak about his dad was deeply moving, even though it was delivered light and easy. I shed happy tears when Farokh Mehta shared his 75 year old friendship story. I was blown away by Madhukar Dhas singing on screen from the 1974 production of Jesus Christ Superstar. As the black and white images kept flashing, I noticed that Alyque had constructed the stage as a giant cross. No wonder this rock opera is still spoken about in musical theatre circles. Genius!
Then there was a parade of amazing performances by Sharon Prabhakar, Dalip Tahil, Delna Mody, Shiamak Davar, Shahryar Atai, Mary Ann and Siddharth Meghani. Cyrus Broacha and Kunal Vijaykar had us in splits as they shared memories of Alyque’s quirks and style. It was great fun when Kabir Bedi said that Alyque must be raising hell in heaven. And the heartfelt sentiments from Raj Gupta and Roger Periera and Alyque’s personal doctor. Memories of inspiration. What a show! All masterfully managed by the MC and narrator, Sumit Roy (It was funny when Cyrus referred to Sumit as the original Liril girl - because of Sumit’s long flowing hair).
The evening was just the way Alyque would have liked it. Lights, action, magic! Wikipedia says omnipresence is related to the concept of ubiquity, the ability to be everywhere or in many places at once. That was Alyque. Theatre, advertising, activism. Everywhere. I left the theatre thinking, what a man! Netflix should be doing a biopic on him! Omnipresence is real, and I am a witness. I came. I saw. I was born again.
(Josy Paul is chairman and CCO, BBDO India.)