And now Aamir Khan plays a ventriloquist in his latest commercial

If you are still marvelling at how Aamir Khan looks half his age in his forthcoming film 3 Idiots, check him out as a Seventies hero in the Tata Sky+ Active ads on television. He plays a ventriloquist with a puppet called Active.

Styled by Arjun Bhasin, Aamir sports a 1970s look — long sideburns, matted hair, bow tie and checkered suit, the new series of ads is inspired by India’s finest ventriloquist Ramdas Padhye.

For Aamir, bringing to life a puppet has been a dream come true. “I was always intrigued by ventriloquists. So when the Tata Sky team came to me with this concept, I thought it was unique and was excited to live up this fantasy,” says the actor.

Tata Sky+ Active is about interactive television and the concept of the ad is that since the advent of television the viewer has been a puppet in its hands but now with the new services it will be the other way. The ads are comical squabbles between Bunty (Aamir) and the puppet, wherein Aamir expresses mock sympathy for the TV that is now dancing to his tunes. The actor, who looks for perfection in everything, spent a lot of time with Ramdas for expert tips and also rehearsed with his puppet. “I was fortunate to work with Ramdas. Ventriloquism is a complex art which takes years to master. Also, I do believe practice makes a man perfect, hence I’ve been talking to my buddy Active!” he laughs. And just as most puppets are alter-egos of ventriloquists, does he share a special bond with Active? “Having lived the life of a ventriloquist during the preparation for the Tata Sky ad, I must say unlike a film role, where an actor tends to disconnect with the character as soon as the movie is completed, for a ventriloquist the relationship extends beyond professional liaison,” he says.

Aamir Khan has been having a dream run on the TV commercials’ front with innovative ads that challenge the actor in him. In recent times, there has been Coca Cola’s gaming icon that jumps out of the screen to take a swig of his favourite drink to the affable sardar (again in Tata Sky). Looks like his experimentations don’t stop with the big screen.

“Thanks for appreciating my work!” he says, smiling, “I have reached a certain stage in life where I get to make my choices in terms of the characters I play and the work that I do. I believe that the Indian audiences have matured and deserve a higher ground in entertainment. Hence, I have accordingly portrayed characters that have a fresh appeal.

Fortunately, the brands that I work with, especially Tata Sky, hold similar views of moving away from the conventional serving. I’m glad if I’ve been able to inspire brands to think out-of-the-box!”