He is the nation’s Drool Boy No. 1. Cut to John Abraham conversing with Roshmila Bhattacharya, all covered up from head to toe.
So, how’s the Dostana dude been? ( Oh those deep ravine dimples)
Great! I just got back from Philly (Philadelphia) two days ago to an overwhelming reaction to the Dostana promos. Yellow seems to be the colour of the day.
Yeah, for once a guy in sunny yellow briefs has scored over a babe in a gold swimsuit.
Karan (Johar) had told me long before we started shooting, “You don’t know what you’ll do to the girls when you walk out of the sea in those briefs.” I didn’t know what he was talking about then but now I look at him and he flashes me that I-told-you-so smile.
Actually, even I was pretty impressed when I first saw the promos.. made me feel so special. But one needs to understand that a lot of hard work has gone into looking like that. And it needed guts.
More so since you pull down those trunks too.
(Grins) When they told me I would have to show my butt on camera I was like, “Okay, when do we shoot?” I think my reaction took them by surprise but hey, I was on the beach and comfortable with my body, so why not? And it’s been aesthetically shot, not perverse. Even the censors okayed it.
Ready to be the next gay icon?
(Laughs) When affection is well meant, I take that as a compliment, whether it comes from a man or a woman.
Today, when the lean look is back you’re a bulky mass of muscles..
I’m six-feetone-and-a half inches tall. Given my height I must have size too. The brief was the Baywatch man and that meant not a body builder’s body but a body that was attainable and so desirable. My trainer, Mike Ryan, flew in from Los Angeles. In keeping with his instructions I put on 14 pounds.
Did you binge?
I don’t binge. Rice, chawal, baigan ki sabzi may be tasty but they don’t figure in my diet. For me, it’s a high-protein-fix every two-three hours.. if I don’t go to a gym for a week I feel sick. From the 76 kg I was during Aashayein I went up to 92 kg and today I’m down to 86 kg, all through regular workouts. It’s easy for me to regulate my weight. I just have to be careful my skin doesn’t lose its elasticity.
Bipasha Basu has returned from a holiday with you in the U S.. how does she score in the fitness department?
Bipasha is one woman who can put me to test in the gym. Right now she’s in terrific physical shape. Some men find her intimidating and I find that really cool.
You’ve never been intimidated by Bipasha?
(Smiles) I know no fear. I can be pretty brash and shameless. My smiles helps me to get away with anything.
Any M-talk yet?
Marriage? We haven’t thought that far ahead. Today, I learnt a new word, PDA.. Public Display of Affection. We’ll leave the PDA to others and concentrate on our careers.
Which means we have to move to New York?
New York? Why?
Isn’t that the name of your new Kabir Khan movie?
Ah yes, we’ve just wrapped up schedule in Philly. I was there for three months and five days. It was my best outdoor after Dostana.
Even with Neil Nitin Mukesh constantly interfering with the script and Katrina Kaif keeping her distance on the sets?
Neil and interfere? No way! He’s a super guy.. good looker, a great dancer, wonderful actor. He’ll blow everyone over with his performance in New York. Katrina too was a pukka professional. There was no animosity, the working relationship was very cordial.
So New Yorkis shaping up the way you want it to?
Yeah, Kabir is my buddy.. my brother. I can trust him with my life. Besides Karan and Adi (Aditya Chopra), he’s the only one whom I’d give credit to for my success. These guys have held my hand when nobody else would.. they stood my me and showed confidence in me when I was low.
Do you regret refusing the role which eventually went to Bobby Deol in Aditya Chopra’s Jhoom Barabar Jhoom?
I wanted to do the film but dates were an issue. In retrospect, if such a situation cropped up again, I’d probably try harder to work with Adi. Karan and he know how to project me best. Katrina was a congenial co-star but not a friend.
Does this mean that Salman Khan is still a foe or is a patch-up in the offing?
Why are we digging up old bones? I don’t give such issues much thought.
You’re committed to as many as three English-language movies — Luna, Exclusion and American Empire. Aakhir kyoooooon?
None of these films are happening yet. Luna was road-blocked by the writers’ strike in Hollywood. We lost a large chunk of Rachel Weisz’s dates. Exclusion is now Komagata Maru. Akshay (Kumar) is now doing the role Mr (Amitabh) Bachchan was supposed to. I love Akshay.. and Deepa (Mehta) too. American Empire is just one of the many scripts I’ve been offered. I haven’t made a commitment to anyone yet.
What about Abbas Tyrewalla’s 1-800 Love which is said to be inspired by the toll-free helplines in the U S? That one is signed and sealed. We start shooting next year.. May, June, July in Boston. It’s a romantic comedy with music by A R Rahman.
And Hook Ya Crook and Alibaba and 41 Thieves?
I’m really excited about Hook Ya Crook. The script’s a dream but the logistics are a nightmare. We need at least 25 actors and 800 extras. I hope it works out because I adore David Dhawan. Coolie No. 1 is one of my favourite films. Alibaba.. I’ve just finished dubbing for. It’s an animation film but they will have my crooked smile, my dimples, in fact Alibaba will look just like me.
Will Aashayein be your next release?
I hope. It’s one of my most honest films.
Apparently, there were issues with Nagesh Kukunoor over Elahe Heptullah taking over the reins of direction?
There were no issues with Nagesh. And Elahe is one of the best line producers ever. The film’s ready. But it has no takers after Big Pictures reneged on the deal. Even before the global meltdown, Percept took the film back. I’m happy because they know how to market such films. It’s not a run-of-the-mill product that needs a carpet bomb release. It has to be nurtured. Hey, it cost just Rs 3 crore, they can get the money back from the sale of satellite rights alone. And you know something? My co-star Anahita Contractor.. she was in Chak De! India.. was so terrific that she’ll sweep all the awards.
And you’re said to be the scene-stealer of Dostana.
Not me, my relationship with Abhishek (Bachchan) in the film is. We’ll win the Best Romantic Jodi Award for sure.