When John Abraham turned producer and launched his production house, JA Entertainment, he only wanted to concentrate on one thing — making content-driven films.
On March 18, the actor achieved a part of that dream when his very first production, Vicky Donor (2012), won three honours at the 60th National Awards — Best Popular Film for wholesome entertainment, Best Supporting Actor (Annu Kapoor) and Best Supporting Actress (Dolly Ahluwalia shared the award with Malayalam actress Kalpana for Thanichalla Njan). The proud producer talks to us about coping with the pressure and what lies ahead.
Vicky Donor has won many other awards too, but winning three National Awards is a big deal.
It’s a great honour. We will need to follow this up with more such films. Shoojit (Sircar, director) and I were shooting for Madras Café (John’s next production) when we got the news (about the National Awards). That’s when it hit us... Madras Café will have to be better in terms of content. Vicky Donor has set a benchmark.
Do you think the industry is finally accepting content-driven films?
I feel we’ve been lucky in terms of the content. My company and Shoojit have always focussed on slice-of-life subjects and fortunately, things have been great so far. We believe in making content-driven films that can also be commercial and can pass on important messages. But I want to thank God for the National Award. I feel vindicated.
How does the award inspire you as a producer?
The last time I felt like this was when Water (2005) was nominated for the Academy Awards in the Foreign Language Film category. But I’m cautious about this victory. I’m happy, but not overtly excited. I am already feeling the pressure to do something better. I’m happy for Ayushmann (Khurrana, lead actor). He’s a lovely boy.