For a long time, John Abraham has been in the news for several things — his production house, the success of Vicky Donor, cheating allegations by ex-girlfriend Bipasha Basu and his current relationship with Priya Runchal. Now, for the first time, John talks about his split with Bipasha, Priya and
Bollywood actor John Abraham (L), with girlfriend Priya Runchal, received the Most Stylish Man award during the GQ Men of the Year Awards 2012. (AFP)
Your reaction on the allegations in your earlier relationship…
I know that break-ups stir up a lot of emotions and I can empathise with that. I come from a family where credibility and honesty have always mattered. Cheating and dishonesty, in any form, is not in my DNA. It is unfortunate if my silence is mistaken as acceptance for things said about me. I have always maintained a dignified silence because that is how I am raised. I have a clear conscience.
How would you describe your present relationship?
Things are beautiful and simple, and that’s why I protect it so much. We have a true and deep connection and are focused on living our lives and planning for the future. Priya’s a private person and tends to not be overly concerned with my career. She likes to focus on her work, our relationship, families and friends. I appreciate that she is grounded and mature beyond her age because it’s very easy to get consumed by this business.
Do your parents tell you to tie the knot soon?
John Abraham and Bipasha Basu in happier times
No, there’s not even an iota of pressure from mom and dad. In fact, they are very relaxed about it. My parents, otherwise too, have never forced anything on me. They have always left me to myself.
Do you feel your personal life has made you a happier person?
When you get a strong sense of support in your personal space, it percolates to your workspace. If I am disturbed personally, I am sure it would reflect in my working style — as a producer as well as an actor. I can state with confidence that my best work is yet to come.
‘My career begins on May 1’
What’s new from JA Entertainment?
There are two films with superb scripts in the development stage. Also, we will soon venture into Marathi film production. We are excited about it. It will be commercial, yet credible.
Coming to your acting career, with films like Shootout at Wadala, Race 2 and Jaffna, do you feel you are in the most exciting phase of your career?
Every actor goes through a purple patch in his life and I honestly think that my career begins with Shootout at Wadala on
May 1. I can say that because I know what I have done in the film. But I give all the credit to Sanjay Gupta (director).
I was talking to Ronit (Roy) about my career starting off and he told me that a lot of other actors, in my place would rather say it’s their best performance ever. I know people will look at me in a different light after its release. And bang on the heels of Shootout, I have Jaffna, which will strengthen my credibility as an actor. We actors strive for that. My time starts now.
‘I am not here to make art movies’
Vicky Donor has done very well. Do you think you are at the right place as a producer?
Absolutely. As a production house, we are in the right mindset. The core value of JA Entertainment is to create credible content. I am confident that the kind of movies I create for the future will target the youth. If Vicky Donor is the benchmark of the kind of films from our company, then you can expect interesting, yet very commercial, films from us.
You are making out-of-the-box films. Do you ever feel apprehensive about them?
Never. I make films out of my gut instinct. With Vicky Donor, it was bang-on. In the future, my instinct on the films I am going to make is pretty much in the space of what I believe the youth will like. If that’s out-of-the-box, let it be. My films are very commercial. I am clear that I am not here to make art films. Instead, I want to generate revenue. But I also want to generate a lot of credibility for my company.
After Vicky Donor, what’s next as a producer?
In some time now, we will start working on Jaffna, which is the tentative title. It was the film that Shoojit (Sircar) and I were supposed to make three years ago. We start shooting on November 1 and wrap up in one schedule of three months. Then, we are launching Imtiaz Ali’s brother Sajid as a director. After which, Hamara Bajaj starring Ayushmann Khurrana will follow.
There’s a feeling that you’re working with Shoojit Sircar a lot…
Actually, we are working together as business partners along with our companies, Rising Sun Entertainment and JA Entertainment. We are working on three films together, out of which he (Shoojit) is directing Jaffna and Hamara Bajaj. Besides that, we are getting more directors to make all our other ventures. Shoojit and I are trying to source the right kind of directors and actors for all our films. We trust each other blindly. And it comes across in our relationship.
John Abraham with current girlfriend Priya Runchal
How is Race 2 turning out?
Race 2 is massive. It’s a magnum opus. I am very proud to be part of the film. We have had a great time shooting it. For those people who missed John Abraham of Dhoom (2004), Race 2 will bring back those memories. When people ask me, ‘How is Race 2?’ I say that Race (2008) was lovely, but the second part is mean. Young people especially will flock to theatres to watch it.