John Abraham admits that many believed he was crazy to produce a film about sperm donation, and even crazier not to star in Vicky Donor himself, thereby making the contentious subject commercially viable. “It was a conscious decision to bring the reality of infertility and surrogacy into the open. In Mumbai alone, the number of childless couples have gone up by 50 per cent between 1982 and 2002,” reasons the actor, adding that while working on the film, he was determined to back the ‘real heroes’ of his film — Ayushmann Khurrana, Yami Gautam and Annu Kapoor.
John was equally determined not to latch on to sex and sperm to market his film. Not only did he have to take care of a film that director Shoojit Sircar had put into his hands, he also had many debut careers to look out for, including his own as a producer: “There was no way I was going to compromise on credibility. I knew the opening would be slow, but I was confident our Monday collections would be better than Friday’s.”
The gamble has paid off. The figures escalated over the weekend and the trade has declared Vicky Donor a hit. What’s more encouraging for John is that the once-taboo topic is front-page news. Infertility clinics are reporting a surge of donors, and women in their 20s are discussing their ‘personal’ problems with him.
“Last Saturday when I was having dinner with friends, a girl from Thane, who was there with her husband, walked up to thank me for making Vicky Donor. Then, she unabashedly asked me for my sperm,” he says, admitting that the request, though strange, was sweet since it was made in all seriousness. “Earlier women wanted to marry me, now they want my baby. I have to tell them that if I keep donating sperm I’ll end up becoming the father of the nation.”
From Vicky to Bajaj
On January 2, 2013, John Abraham will roll with Hamara Bajaj, to be directed by Shoojit with Ayushmann in the lead. “It’s an emotional story about a small-town boy from Agra,” says John. “Shoojit and I have decided that from now on whenever Ayushman plays the lead in our film, it will be titled after his character. So Vicky Donor will be followed by Hamara Bajaj named after Sanjay Bajaj.”
Tracking the box-office: Vicky Donor
Friday : Rs 1.75 cr
Saturday: Rs 2.75 cr
Sunday: Rs 3.35 cr
Total: Rs7.85 cr
Net figures from Eros for all-India collections only