John Abraham vrooming on a bike is what Indian youngsters drool over. But in March next year, the world will get to see this sex icon in a completely new avatar — a serious young man on the banks of Benaras, grappling with the issue of widows and their solitary lives. John’s film Water has become the official Canadian entry for the 2007 Oscars in the Foreign Film category.
Though John is obviously elated at the news, he says, “It would have been even better had the film got the opportunity to represent India at the international level.” This Deepa Mehta film also features Lisa Ray, Seema Biswas, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Waheeda Rahman, Raghuvir Yadav and others.
“Water is not just a film, it is great cinema. It was a challenging role for me. I was specifically asked to forget that I am John Abraham. From my dressing to diction to demeanour, we worked on every aspect of the character. I even learned Sanskrit shlokas and to play the flute.” Ever since its international release, Water has been screened and invited by various prominent festivals the world over, including the 2005 Toronto Film Festival.
Even as John slips into his other glamorous roles back home, he says, “I want to be known as an actor who dared to take new challenges with each film. I have done it for Anurag Kashyap and Imtiaz Ali and will do the same for Deepa Mehta’s next film too.”