John Abraham never had to work as hard as he did to get it right for his forthcoming film 1: 800 Love. A large part of the drama unfolds through telephone conversations and it was a litmus test for the actor to emote on phone, says director Abbas Tyrewala.
"It's a challenge for the most seasoned of actors. A lot of the relationship between John and Pakhi (John's co-star and also the director's wife) unfolds on the telephone. It was tough," Tyrewala told IANS.
Tyrewala's wife Pakhi plays John's lady love in the film.
"Pakhi insisted on being on the sets in London to give cues even when John alone was doing all the telephone talk. That made it far easier. She was providing him the cues while he delivered his lines on phone," said Tyrewala.
The director isn't sure how he's going to edit all the phone conversation in his film. But the option of split screens showing John and Pakhi talking to each other from separate places is ruled out.
"That's the easy way out. I'll have to find a way to show continuity in John and Pakhi's conversations without resorting to gimmicks. But I've to hand it to John. He surrendered completely to the part and he has come out with a performance that's completely unexpected. Dare I say 1: 800 Love is a new beginning for John," said the director.
Tyrewala tries to assess his wife's performance dispassionately.
"She was always an actress. But she's also my wife. So I was very nervous. Luckily, Pakhi has turned out to be everything that we expected her to be," said Tyrewala.
A lot has been made out of the fact that Pakhi has acted in a comedy Yeh Kya Ho Raha Hai earlier. But Tyrewala is nonchalant about it.
"We never hid the fact that she acted as Punarnava Mehta in Yeh Ka Ho Raha Hai. Then she went to Darjeeling to be a school teacher. I got her back and I persuaded her to return to acting. She was born to be an actress," he said.
Many times while shooting 1: 800 Love Tyrewala was stricken by deja vu.
"It was like going back to Jaane Tu...Ya Jaane Na. The hero is introduced to the audience on the phone in both. Then when I shot a scene in a pub with John, it turned out exactly like a pub scene between Genelia and Ayaaz Khan in Jaane Tu... Just goes to prove directors apparently keep making variations on the same idea in their careers," he said.