Model turned actor-producer John Abraham believes outsiders have to struggle to find a footing in Bollywood while star kids have it easy. “For star kids, it’s easier to get a break and to sustain. Also, they can make films after films and one of them will work. But people like John Abraham get just one chance to prove themselves. Sangharsh zyada karna padta hai.”
He was in talk with Chitra Tripathi at Hindustan Sangam on the topic Cinema Mey Samaj ki Awaz.
The anchor asked him how he managed to lift a 1,580 kg Merc for his upcoming film. “When I lifted a motorcycle in Force I had to prove that several times in front of the media. Now after this one, I guess people will call me in case of parking problems,” he says on a lighter note.
He further said, “Till Dostana I was just about a great body but when I produced Vicky Donor and Madras Café, people realized I can think also. It’s very important to show what you actually are and I make films to show that side of me -- that I am a thinking person and am very politically aware. For Madras Café, I visited almost every studio for 7 years and all of them threw me out. That is why I became a producer to films that I want to see and show.”
On what has changed in 13 years — from Jism in 2003 to now — he said, “I am still very basic and simple. My co-stars always complain that I should be wearing shoes more often as I love to be in my chappals and tee. Today, I am better dressed since I was told that I was to be on TV! I don’t try to be what I am not and my middle class values are my plus point. My dad still takes a bus, mom travels by auto and so do I. We must use public transport.” He said that stardom doesn’t mean wearing black glasses and walking with bodyguards.
Asked why he is missing from award ceremonies, he said, “Yes I don’t go to award ceremonies, don’t dance in weddings and stay away from starry bashes. Award ceremonies are TRP driven and without disrespect to my colleagues, I find such events just like a circus. I don’t know which one is credible. It’s strange that one who performs wins an award. Once I was told that I was winning an award but if I did not turn up, it will be given to someone else!”
The actor talks about his fitness regime. “I sleep early and wake up at 4:30 am. You don’t need to work out for hours, even one hour is enough. Everyone should do that and then they will not need to wear new or black clothes. I don’t take oil, dairy products, chocolates and sugar. I take good and proper diet and have never cheated in the last 20 years. One should start with at least 20 days of strictness and gradually increase.”
A bike enthusiast, he had a word of caution and some tips for young bikers. “Always wear a helmet. Girls don’t tolerate idiots who ride fast, are without helmets, sway in influence of alcohol and take drugs,” he said. “I don’t smoke, don’t drink or take drugs. I am boring that way,” he said with his impish smile.
On the demonetization move of the government, he said, “I thought some builders will jump off the building but that did not happen. I don’t carry money or cards with me and roam without money.”
During the talk, another aspect of the actor was revealed. John has been closely associated with various social causes in association with Fever FM 104 -- Mission Tezab, surgeries for the needy, blood donation camps, Ambulance First campaign and Mission Parakram that is dedicated to unsung heroes of the Armed forces.
Playing negative roles: I love it and feel comfortable doing it. We all have some grey shades in us. Positive is very boring. Girls too love bad boys.
Personal life of public figures: I am a very private person. Some of my colleagues share thing on social media but that’s a very individual decision.
Responsible film making: Some responsibility should be there but creative people should get liberty. These days too many censorship issues are there.
Atheist but spiritual: I am not too religious and some people think I am an atheist. I am a spiritual person and feel there is one God, which is my mother.
Superhero film: I can’t wear underwear over pants. But I want to make a proper film on armymen, who really are superheroes.
His idol: Like most of us, I will say Mr (Amitabh) Bachchan because of the way he has sustained and we all have seen that in Pink.
Favourite dialogue: It’s from Force-2 – Desh badal gaya hai, ab hum ghus ke maretey hai (claps)
Social cause: Next, I want to concentrate on old age homes.
Three wishes: Through films we make a different, India becomes a superpower and people stop being embarrassed of their Indian passport. It’s the best passport in the world!