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John to venture into production

Missing from screen for almost a year, the actor’s back from his self-imposed break, with plans of his debut as a producer and back-to-back acting assignments.
Hindustan Times | By Hiren Kotwani, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAY 01, 2010 01:26 PM IST
If John Abraham hasn’t been seen in nearly a year, it’s also because he’s preparing for his maiden production venture.

The movie, to be helmed by his friend Sabal Shekhawat, reportedly revolves around five ex-commandos. And besides Abraham, it also features Naseeruddin Shah and Ranvir Shorey in important roles. The film is still untitled and should take off next year after the actor wraps up his current commitments.

Any other actor would have upped his ante and locked at least a couple of multi-crore deals after two back-to-back hits with big banners. But John Abraham opted to take a break after Dostana and New York. Quiz him on his surprising move and he retorts, “I want the audience to see my next film and say, ‘Hey, this was worth waiting for.’” Abraham admits that after wrapping up Abbas Tyrewala’s Love-1800 (that’s still a tentative title), he has been offered loads of scripts. “But I’m being choosy because I want to do only good films,” he asserts.

Raising the bar
He is presently shooting for Vishal Bharadwaj’s Saath Khoon Maaf with Priyanka Chopra in Coorg. In the city for a day to launch a deodorant for Garnier for Men, of which he’s the brand ambassador, Abraham says, “I think people should respect the fact that I’ve chosen to take a break at a time when I could have made hay. Unfortunately, a section of the media do not see the commitment behind this deliberate move.”

He points out that he has some interesting films lining up for release, starting with Abbas’s film in September for which he did a lot of workshops before they started shooting. Now, I’m taking a break for workshops for my next film. “Dostana was good, New York was better. Now I want to raise the bar with Abbas and Nishikant’s (Nishikant Kamath) films. I have a lot of faith in Abbas and am a fan of Nishikanth’s previous films like Dombivili Fast and Mumbai Meri Jaan. For me, his remake of Khaka Khaka is the Sarfarosh of today.”

Everything is planned
Abraham admits that Tyrewalla’s film wrapped up last year, but will only release around Eid this year. “I did ask Abbas if we weren’t going on the floors a little too earlier given that he had his release date planned, and he explained that he wanted to break it up and do the songs later since (AR) Rahman, who’s composing the background needed time,” he informs, reiterating that he’d rather wait than have a substandard film coming out in a hurry.

He says that this is the best phase for him professionally and he’s really excited. “The break was much-needed, it gave me the opportunity to retrospect,” he asserts, adding with a smile, “The next one will be longer. My advice to everyone is take a break every once in a while, it works.”

John and GeneliaI hope the big guns don’t shelve Hook Ya Crook: John

Hook Ya Crook ground to a halt after you injured your leg. And since then there has been no progress on it. Seems the endless wait is to rope in Team India cricketers along with your friend Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the climax.
We all know that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is the sole authority when it comes to our cricketers. By the time my leg healed, the logistics had got out of hand and the producers were wondering if the project was still viable or to pull the plug out. I’ve committed to David that I’ll finish the film for him. But there are larger financial issues that need to be taken up by people in the macro set-up. Hook Ya Crook works for me and it would be unfortunate if the film was shelved. We’re waiting for the big guns to take a call.

By the time Abbas’ film releases, I’ll have started on Nishikant’s film for Vipul Shah. Then there’s Dostana 2, followed by Desi Boys with Akshay (Kumar). There’s also a fantastic sci-fi movie with Shirish Kunder and my own production. Phew! Oh I forgot, there’s a slice-of-life real story movie with Kapil Sharma, son of Captain Rakesh Sharma.

Nagesh Kukunoor’s Aashaayein has been complete for over a year now. When will it see the light of the day?
(Sighs) We’re all wondering why such a wonderful movie is not releasing. It’s beyond our comprehension. The producers need to sort out their differences soon. I’m so proud of the film.

One expected to see you rooting for Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings at the IPL Season 3 grand finale.
I’ve been busy but I’m very happy for Mahi and he knows it. So what if I didn’t watch matches at the stadium.

Tell us some secrets from the Saat Khoon Maaf sets?
(Smiles) Vishal will kill me! He met me and asked me if I had seen Brad Pitt in the Cohen Brothers’ film, Burn After Reading. When I nodded, he told me that if I wanted to do a film just for kicks, then this was it. It’s a fun role that I agreed to immediately because I admire Vishal’s work immensely. It’s one of those films I’d do without thinking because I’m so confident of the director.

Buzz is that you refused to sport a moustache for Nishikant Kamat’s movie.

Nonsense, we’re still trying to figure out the look for this character. Nishikant is a perfectionist and it’s not about being glam but real.

No tweets for john: Why aren’t you on Twitter?
I’m not interested in letting the world know when I’m going to the loo. Certain things about John Abraham are best left for people’s imagination. Ha ha…

I’ll endorse a product only if I’ll use it: John on men's grooming

When I was working in an ad agency, male actors were not into grooming. It’s only in the last few years that we started taking the visual medium seriously and realised that it’s important for men to look good too. Back then, women endorsed a soap and men an undergarment. Today, we are promoting uber cool products, like Garnier for Men.

Bip and JohnOn his brand equity

An actor’s saleability is judged by the number of brands he endorses. But I’ll endorse a product only if I’ll use it. That’s the thumb rule. So if I’m endorsing Castrol, Yamaha and Garnier, I’m using the products too. Soon, I’ll also been seen endorsing a big clothing brand that I’ve grown up on.

On Bipasha Basu and a soon-to-happen wedding
What wedding? Bipasha is always choosy about scripts. She wants to do only certain kinds of films now and I respect her decision. She’s actually one of the better actors you know. As for the question of marriage, we’ll cross the bridge when we come to it. At this point, we’re happy the way we are. We’ll continue to be in this blissful state of being until some external force is applied. Newton’s first law, I think.

On his dream home
My brother Allan and my father, both architects, have done a fabulous job renovating my house. It’s beautiful and I hate stepping out of it!

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