"Doing A Big Film Is Like Riding A Rolls Royce" John Abraham
At the outset when we meet for this interview at The Club, John Abraham asserts that though his recent release Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal did not exactly set the box office on fire, he was more than happy with the outcome of the film. We were confident that the film would hit the bull’s eye because Chak De India had clicked with the backdrop of hockey and our film had the backdrop of football. I too had put in all my efforts and I am glad that it shows on the screen. Not every film that you act in can or will turn out to be a box office hit. As an actor, it is not in my hands. It is enough if I get appreciation, because if you put in your effort and still people crticise your performance, as an actor you will only be demoralized.”
John confesses frankly that he has been disappointed for the second time in a row. Before Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal, he had banked a lot on Anurag Kahsyap’s No Smoking. According to John, No Smoking was in no way similar to the foreign film Game. “Anurag told me that he was inspired by one of the episodes in the film Darna Mana Hai starring Boman Irani and Saif Ali Khan. No Smoking was a very entertaining film and had me pitted in the film with Ayesha Takia, who played my wife who walks out on me”
John confesses that though the film flopped, he was very excited to be a part of the project “The film, which is basically about the equation between two friends, sets out to drive home the subtle message about how smoking will end up killing you. The film was brilliantly directed by Anurag Kashyap. In No Smoking, I played a guy who is trying to decipher the situation in which he is in. It was partly realistic and partly surrealistic.”
The actor is all praise for director Anurag Kashyap. “With Anurag, you just follow his instructions and you will be able to deliver automatically. He lets all his actors improvise and come up with their best on the sets. In any case, I think the director is the jockey and I am the horse on the sets since basically I am a director’s actor”.
John is of the opinion that Ayesha Takia with whom he had acted for the first time in No Smoking is a natural actress though she has a different image thanks to the different kind of films that she has done. “Ï was floored by her mind-blowing performance in Nagesh Kukunoor’s Dor”
Though his lungs were affected during the shoot of No Smoking since he started smoking endless packers of cigarettes, John says he has not touched a cigarette at all after the shooting of Nagesh Kukunoor’s Ashayen. “Till I started shooting for No Smoking, I used to smoke sporadically”
John is known for taking up projects which are different. “Ï do not want to play safe as an actor just because box office success is a must. I do not deny that I would love to be associated with hits at the box office but not at the cost of the subject. I have said no to offers for films with bigger stars though I was told that it would have been safe for me as an actor to be a part of those films, though I had insignificant roles in them.”
John Abraham admits that when he does select a film, he makes it a point not to slot it either as a big budget film or a small budgeted one. Citing an example, John says that when he said yes to Kabir Khan when he narrated to him the subject of Kabul Express, Yashraj Films had not come into the picture. Similarly when Anurag Kashyap narrated to him the subject of No Smoking, John says that producer Kumar Mangat was not aware of the project since he had agreed to back it up only after John had said yes to it.
John adds. “Though I am being inundated with offers which require me to sing and dance, I am determined not to get typecast by accepting all such films. Today the audience taste is definitely changing for the better and we have films like Rang De Basanti , Chak De India , Bheja Fry and Metro redefining the tastes of the audience, which has accepted these films with open arms”
In Vivek Agnihotri’s Goal Dhan Dhana Dhan , Bipasha Basu was also cast in a pivotal role. John hastens to add that he had not recommended Bipasha’s name for the project. “It was Vishal Bharadwaj who had approached Bipasha with the role for Goal. Vishal told her that the song which he wanted her to figure in Goal will be even one up over his song Bidi Jalaile in Omkara. We needed an actress for the film and Vishal could not think of any other actress other than Bipasha.”
After Kaal in which John had acted with Ajay Devgan and Vivek Oberoi, Karan Johar has once again signed him for his next film to be made under the banner of his Dharma Productions. His co-actor in the film will be Abhishek Bachchan. Besides this film, John has also been signed by director Shriram Raghavan for Gaurang Doshi’s film Happy New Year in which Aishwarya Rai is likely to be his leading lady.
Though John is game to act in both small as well as big films, according to him, doing a big film is like riding a Rolls Royce. John adds. “Though there is tremendous pressure when I do a film, I believe in enjoying the process.”