Far, far away from the all-brawn-no-brain stereotype, John Abraham makes a sharp impression. He talks candidly about the difference between his sensibilities as an actor and his vision as a producer, why he never has and never will attend an award function, and more.
Commercial actor, alternative producer
John’s most recent Bollywood release, Nishikant Kamat-directed Rocky Handsome, is he affirms his “safest” bet as a producer so far. The reason he gives for this is unlike his two earlier productions, a typically “commercial” film that is being marketed that way too.
This begs the question — have his first two outings as a producer involved a conscious move towards a different kind of content “As a producer, I have a very clear vision. I’d like to make films that are high on quality as well as content.
The kind of filmmaking I want to encourage as a producer balances entertainment and credibility,” he says. “As an actor, I love doing larger than life commercial films like Welcome Back, but my sensibilities as a producer are very different. And I think these two can coexist within any individual. I will not make endless sequels to films that work either, like a Vicky Donor 2 is not happening right now. It’s what people might want me to do.”
The actor-producer believes that while cinema has the ability to influence the audience in crucial ways, “Every film doesn’t need to give out a heavy message. At the same time, every film needs to be credible. If you look at my films, there are times when they end up giving out important messages without really intending on doing that as their primary objective.”
“I’m in no hurry to go to Hollywood,” John affirms as soon as someone mentions the trajectory of Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone and asks him whether he’d like to go the same way.
“I think my foremost priority at the moment as an actor as well as a producer is to make films in our own industry that can be fairly compared to the West and hold their own in that comparison.
And a lot of our films are doing that already,” he says with a considerable note of pride. “As far as Deepika and Priyanka are concerned, as a colleague I am extremely proud of them. A big salute to them. As for me, I’m okay here.”
Award functions or Circus acts?
While the film industry is reinventing itself, one thing that remains more or less unchanged is the award show format — gimmicks that make fun of actors included.
Responding to a question about a recent dig Riteish Deshmukh took at him while hosting an award show, John asserts, “I don’t go for award functions. They’re circus acts and I don’t take them seriously. Riteish is a friend and I take whatever might have been said by him in good spirit. He’s a good man.
In general, though, award functions really are circuses. And circuses are for monkeys, not for me.” Being a biking enthusiast, he holds a similar view of how motorcycles are treated in Bollywood too. “Oh, it’s a joke.
Motorcycles are mostly used as props, like for people to dance around. I’m actually working on developing a script around motorcycling — I want to bring the motorcycle back to its original essence and reaffirm what it’s meant to stand for.,” he says.
Akshay inspires me
Talking about his recent admission that he calls Akshay “guruji” and really looks up to him as a source of inspiration, the actor shares, “Akshay’s lifestyle truly inspires me. He’s a very fit man and is very positive.
He’s a good human being and the two of us genuinely get along — not just because we’ve worked together , but because we’re genuine friends outside the industry. It’s really nice to have someone like that in your life. He rose to superstardom from nowhere and I can really relate to him that way too.”...