John Abraham is an epitome of someone who has a tough exterior, a soft face, a softer heart but a firm resolve. With big hits like New York and Dostana behind him, he is now seeing the release of Jhootha Hi Sahi. In a candid conversation, John bares his heart out to Joginder Tuteja.
John, you are returning to the big screen after a hiatus. Barring a delayed Aashayein, you come with two bona fide hits behind you - New York and Dostana. What is keeping you going?
I have always stated that it is audience which is my Godfather. They are out there to protect me. This also means that it is my responsibility to entertain them. I have to do that because these are the people who have stood by me. In fact, during a promotional event, I remember asking a huge section of audience that would they want to see John as just a commercial hero or also as someone who did experimental cinema. They all cried in unison that they wanted the latter as well. They said that they want John to take risks, do something totally 'ulta' which is not expected out of him.
Well, you did that in No Smoking.
For that matter, even Water. I am sure not many actors would have been willing to play such roles. These are the films that have been recognised internationally. Then came New York, which was again performance oriented. How much more does an actor have to do to continuously prove himself?
Perhaps blame it on the oft repeated adage of 'Models can't act' which leads to further difficulty in acceptance?
I know, it is a big disadvantage for a male model to come into this industry. Especially so, when your predecessors have failed and been termed as non-actors. Today, when people meet me and say that you have a great body, I do feel good. But then I feel even better when they say that you are a good actor. Now that's gratifying.
One hopes that you hear all this and more after the release of Jhootha Hi Sahi. From playing a cool and hunky dude in your previous films, it does seem quite some transformation for you to be donning the look of an average man.
I must confess that I was worried about being unshaven with
an unkempt hair in the film. I was even more worried when Abbas (Tyrewala) told me that I wasn't allowed to go to the gym. Not many know but my body type is ectomorph. My bones are light, joints are small and muscles are slight. I have to work hard to gain every ounce of muscle and every bit of strength. If I don't go to the gym, I would lose weight. Still, I had to comply with what Abbas said to me.
All of this means too much to ask for a film, isn't it?
Yes. In fact, I did ask Abbas whether he was sure about what he was doing. I didn't know till the first day of the shoot that whether my look
would actually compliment the kind of character that Abbas wanted to come on screen. It was his conviction that made me chug along. Now today, when I have seen the film and also evidenced reactions to the promos, I want to say 'Thank You' to him. People have suddenly woken up to the fact that 'arrey, John toh sach mein alag dikh raha hai yahan'. Even Bipasha complimented me by saying that this film has actually managed to create an altogether different image of
mine. I want to touch Abbas' feet for all that he has done.
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