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John Abraham: Every Indian has the right to criticise India; it’s for the betterment of our country

Calling himself ‘a hardcore India fan’, Bollywood actor-director John Abraham says that his patriotism always comes out ‘somewhere’ in his films and that ‘a true Indian’ would also show the country’s problems on screen.

bollywood Updated: Jul 20, 2018 16:06 IST
Juhi Chakraborty
Juhi Chakraborty
Hindustan Times
Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran,Satyameva Jayate,Bollywood
Actor John Abraham’s upcoming film, a vigilante thriller titled Satyameva Jayate, will release on August 15.(Photo: Fotocorp)

Most of his films have an undertone of national pride and patriotism, and Bollywood actor-producer John Abraham says that it’s because he’s a “hardcore India fan” and that comes across in his films.

John’s last release, Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran, based on the Pokhran nuclear tests of 1998, has been a major success and is full of patriotic flavour. And his Independence Day release this year, the vigilante thriller Satyameva Jayate, will see him as the protagonist who fights corruption and various other social ills.

The actor says, “I’m a hardcore India fan, and somewhere it plays out in my films. The commonality between the films that I’m doing is that I’ve been addressing issues and telling stories that make India proud.” He has earlier played an anti-narcotics officer in Force (2011) and Force 2 (2016) and an intelligence agent in Madras Cafe (2013). Referring to his latest and upcoming films, he says, “These are all very special messages given in the form of films.”

However, while he likes to have his film plot based on a solid issue, John says that he’d never do a movie just to highlight the subjects that he believes in. He always keeps an eye on the commercial appeal of a film, whether as an actor or a producer.

“Satyameva Jayate is a hardcore commercial film, but within a hardcore commercial film format, I’m addressing issues of molestation of women, bribery, black money, and corruption, which are present across the board. My films should promise meaningful, entertaining content,” says John.

Talking about how movies can be used as a tool to inspire and educate the youth, the actor says, “After watching Parmanu, some might think that it’s so cool to be a scientist or so cool to be an engineer or a police officer. I think you have to build aspiration in the youth.”

But at the same time, John feels that as someone who’s part of the film industry, one should address the negatives as well. “You can’t always show glory on screen. You’re a true Indian only if you can show what the problems are,” he says.

In this day and age, words like ‘patriotism’ and ‘nationalism’ are tossed around all the time. What is John’s take on that? He replies, “I’m not jingoistic, but I love my country a lot. I believe that I have the right to criticise my country. I’d feel bad if anybody outside my country would dare to criticise my country. I’m very, very protective about my country, but every Indian has the right to criticise India, because it’s for the betterment of our country.”

John has also declined several offers of citizenship from other countries. “I strictly said ‘no’. If I don’t have the passport of my country, then what’s the point? This is my identity. This is why I’m an Indian,” says the actor. “I don’t know if it makes sense to everyone, but it makes sense to me. I love my country more than anything in the world.”

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First Published: Jul 20, 2018 16:04 IST