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By Arun

Advertisements usually try to extend or exploit the on screen image of the stars. The heroines have to look as dazzling as ever, the heroes have to look as stylish and cool as ever etc. But, there are a few ads that stand out from the rest by giving the actors/stars some challenging and extremely different short roles to perform. These are not extensions of their screen images or roles, but these ads sometimes change our perspectives towards an actor and sometimes make us believe that the limitations that we originally attributed to the actor, are only myths. Here are some such ads which tried to give the stars something different to do.

Vivek – Nathella

Vivek has done quite a few ads, some for Nathella itself. But, there was one ad which brought out his mimicry skills better than any of his performances on the big screen. Remember the one minute ad where he does a very funny imitation of M.R.Radha in his heydays. It was not inch-perfect mimicry, but mimicking where there was subtle enhancements of the finer points in the body language of M.R.Radha to give it that touch of humor. A very short, but top-class performance.

Asin   - Mirinda

Actresses in ads are required to do just one thing; look good and walk through (literally) the frames in the most stylish manner possible. Asin’s series of ads with Mirinda steered away from that stereotype. It showed her in quite a few mischievous episodes, which reminded us a bit of the ‘Kalpana’ of Ghajini. But, the ads stood apart for being one of the very few where the heroine’s only job wasn’t to look good.

Kareena Kapoor-Karan – Mahindra Duro

This is the biggest ad surprise in recent times; Kareena Kapoor paired with Karan, speaking broken Tamil, advertising a scooter. It was indeed great to see Kareena shed the ‘diva’ image and do something so different. It was s very simple ad, and for the same reason, it was complex. To speak half-baked Tamil deliberately and manage to look cute; that is a task that needs some balancing. Overall, it was a ‘romba nalla’ ad.

Abhishek Bachchan – Idea

Some actors carry their screen image to ads. But, in the case of Abhishek Bachchan, we can say that he is dangerously close to carrying his ad image on to the big screen. One does not know whether it is a compliment for an actor or not; but the fact is that Abhishek is identified more for ‘Get Idea’ dialogue than any of his films. There is absolutely no one in the country who might have said the word ‘Idea’ with so many inflections as Abhishek has. It has been a wonderful enduring partnership. Definitely a ‘Great Idea Sirji’.

Ranbir Kapoor – Docomo

Some actors get ads because of the things they do in movie. But, some ads are good enough to give actors whole new images, expose their talents much more profoundly than any full-length movie. That is what seems to have happened with Ranbir Kapoor in the latest Docomo ad series. He was the chocolate romance boy of Bollywood. But, the Docomo ads, where he plays the aged but greedy and cunning hotelier, will perhaps awaken a lot of directors to the kind of potential that he has as an actor. Let’s wait and watch whether his extremely well-nuanced performance in this tricky role gets him much more meaty parts in movies much sooner than he was originally destined to.

Vijay – Docomo

Vijay has done quite a few ads in his career. But almost all of them have tried to cash in on his screen image; either his dance abilities or his ‘saviour’ image. It was only recently that he did an ad that was really ‘stand apart’. The ad for Docomo showed Vijay in a really relaxed, carefree and youthful spirit; it was fantastic to see. The playful, almost frolic nature of the ad was wonderful. It seemed to turn the years back on Vijay. The best thing was that the ad was timed closely with Nanban. Talk of great timing.

A.R.Rahman – Airtel

This should be one of the most legendary ads featuring a film personality. We had never seen Rahman in such a casual mood before. Actually, we had rarely seen him except for the Vande Matharam song. But, Airtel roped him in and presented Rahman in the freshest manner possible. Of course, how can we forget the tune that Rahman composed for Airtel? Some say it is that tune that made Airtel what it is today. Some also say that the one minute composition ranks among Rahman’s best.

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