Conversations with John Abraham are always fun. His thoughts are crystal clear and he makes sure that you get drawn to his confidence like a bee. He has no qualms about admitting that he is not your quintessential Bollywood hero. If you thought that the man is all 'abs' then you are highly mistaken! He's someone who doesn't believe in doing films just for the sake of box office numbers and says 'normal is boring'.
With 'Dishoom' hitting the big screens this week I catch up with the handsome hunk for a quick chat and what follows next is a interesting insight.
1. 'Working With Varun Dhawan Was Effortless'
I think the trailer and our interviews say it all. We are extremely comfortable with each other and share a fantastic chemistry. I knew Rohit (Dhawan) from 2008 when I did a film called ‘Hook Ya Crook’ with his father. Then I did ‘Desi Boyz’ with Rohit and just before ‘Desi Boyz’ I got to know Varun. I know Varun from five-six years now. So working with him was like a natural extension of how our relationship was for so long, so it is very seamless. It was lovely and very effortless. Varun has done two hero films before. But with me the experience was such that now he wants to come back for a 'Dishoom 2', 'Dishoom 3' and so on. We had a great time together.
2. 'Jacqueline Has The Right Attitude Towards Work'
Working with Jacqueline was fantastic. Actually she's one of the boys. Everytime me and Varun would discuss something she would be like 'tell me also'. Varun is in fact the most energetic of the lot. We all got along really well. Jacqueline is a good natured girl who has a right attitude towards work. She is super fit and looks stunning.
3. 'I Would Have Done 'Dishoom' For Rohit Even If The Script Wasn't Good'
There are two reasons for doing 'Dishoom'..one because of Rohit Dhawan. He is a young director and he is very Hollywood-like in the way he makes films. He is very cool but at the same time because of his father’s blood, he makes massy films. Second, even if the script wasn't good I would have done it for Rohit. Thankfully the script was fantastic. It is a very relevant issue in today’s time. Like you know if a Sri Lankan team can get attacked today, then it is very easy for anybody to get kidnapped. So it is very relevant. These two reasons put together made me say an 'instant' yes.
4. 'There Is Everything For Everyone In The Film'
Even though there’s action in this film, there’s a little romance in the film, there’s song and dance, there’s a lot of comedy, so ‘Dishoom’, is not primarily an action film. There is everything for everyone, but the beauty is how the director has put all that together. Rohit is very intelligent with his film making and I think what he has concentrated on is the content of the film. He wanted it to be right and he stays true to the story.
5. 'I Am A Beggar For Content'
I think it’s the combination of director and script both that works for a film. I am a beggar for content. While it’s easy for others to make a film, but it is very difficult for me to make one at least as a producer. I am always looking for content and even after that you don’t know whether your film will succeed or fail. So at least you can reduce the probability of failure with great content. But at the same time if you have a great content and you don’t have a good director, you are finished. If you have a decent content but have a very good director, then it’s awesome and if you have great content and great director, it’s fantastic. So I think getting that combination right is tough and sometimes you all don't get that choice. Even if we get that choice the timing is off. I always believe in launching newcomers. I always believe in looking at the next best director who will become big. Most of the people with whom I have worked before have became big directors now. I will always look for fresh content, but I will never steer away from the fact that I want to do commercial and fun films that you and your family can enjoy. I am not saying that I will make the best films but I will try.
6. 'My Love For My Character Is More Important To Me Than My Physique'
We are all guilty of playing too much stress on physicality. Films are a visual medium, so it's nice if you are in decent shape. There was a time when media always asked me about my 6 packs and since then I have never been off the mark. But I am fit because I want to be fit, whether I am on-screen or not, and on-screen you have to mould yourself according to your character. For me as an actor, my love for my character is more important to me than my physique. If my character wants me to be a chain smoker or obese or 20 kilos lighter, then I will work towards that character.
7. 'I Can Never Be A Run-Of-The-Mill Hero'
At this point of time, because of ‘Rocky Handsome’, ‘Dishoom’ and ‘Force 2’, an action space has been created. Action is second nature to me. It's good fun but that’s not the only genre I want to do. I love comedy too. In my filmography all my comedy films have been hits. If I really want to be safe in life I would do only comedies.(laughs). But I will still do a 'No Smoking', 'Kabul Express', 'Water' or a 'Zinda'. The idea is to always try and make something different. A big producer even said that my smartest choices have been the ones that are different irrespective of the fact whether they failed or succeeded. I have created an impression in minds of every one that if it is John Abraham, then he’ll try something different. I am not your run-of-the-mill hero and I will never be one. If there’s a trend going on, I will do exactly opposite. That’s the way I like doing it.
8. 'You Got To Be Really Nervous When You Sign A Film And Not When It Releases'
I deal with failures like I deal with my successes. I don't get euphoric after my successes so I don’t get depressed after my failures. Varun was with me when 'Welcome Back' released and he said, 'John damn good man, I mean you have cracked it.' And I was like 'Ya what's the next shot. Let's get back to work' and then he met me again after 'Rocky Handsome' and he was like 'Hey John, the film didn't do too well' and I said, 'So what! what's the next shot?' (grins). You got to be really nervous when you sign a film, not when it releases. When the cat’s out of the bag, when the bullet is out of the barrel, you can’t do anything. Can I change the fate of the film? No, I can’t.
9. 'Box Office Numbers Are Never Going To Be My Driving Force To Do A Film'
In my book, personally, numbers don’t affect me. Does it make you feel good? Yes. But will I do a film because of numbers? Completely no. Because if I do that, then I am like everybody else. That’s never going to be my driving force. My driving force is always going to be something different. When I took ‘Madras Café’ around for 7 years, no studio entertained me, they all threw me out. Imagine if I would have thought about box office numbers then. Every studio told me that it was a disaster, but I still stuck by what I believed in. Did ‘Water’ run at the box office? No, but at the same time Mr. Steven Spielberg came and told me, “Son, what a fantastic performance.” So it’s the gratification that matters. As actors, we really are beggars for appreciation. We want to take your appreciation, put it in our pocket and move to the next stock because that's what we live for.
10. 'I Am Not Into Posting Selfies And Making Public Display Of Affection'
The media in this country is very gracious. It’s not like paparazzi in foreign countries. Your personal life is out there and there’s nothing wrong with it. But I am very private. I only choose to speak about it and then move away from it. But I am not one of those who would post selfies and make public display of affection. PDA is a big LOL for me. I just don't get into that space because it doesn't work for me. I think it's not cool. Is there anything wrong in others doing it? I absolutely think there's nothing wrong. It's just my point of view. I keep my personal life very close to myself. When I say media is very gracious is because when they ask you something and I say no.. they leave me alone.
11. 'I Might Do A Biopic Only If There Is An Interesting Story To Be Told'
Biopics are a trend. So would I do a sports biopic right now? I don't know. If you ask me my immediate reaction would be a complete 'no'. But if there is a very interesting story to be told then maybe I might. So I don't want to eat my words and say yes and no. I believe that its the content that matters. The script has to be fantastic with the right treatment to the story.
12. 'Normal Is Boring'
I have done comedy, I have done action… I would like to do a romantic film (smiles). But you know I feel with me the film has to be edgy, romance has to be edgy. I think even in real life, I don’t think you romance like it used to be in old films. That romance is boring, you don’t want to see that. I am not saying that romance has to be 50 Shades of Grey all the time, but I am saying that with John Abraham who started with ‘Jism’ or has done ‘Dostana’, you will expect something edgy even out of romance. You won’t expect me to just smile and look at the girl, it won’t happen with me. There has to be some amount of physicality, some movements, something… because I am a very physical person. So romance, yes but if treated differently. Normal is boring. (laughs)
13. 'I Am A 'Nanga' Actor'
I never feel nervous while facing the camera. In fact not even in my first film. I am very confident. Nothing that anyone says from my co-stars to the producers to the critics to the audience can shake my confidence. That's why I have lasted so long because I just don't give up. I just have the power to last and last like a Duracell battery. (laughs). That's because of my attitude. I have a great attitude towards my work and my work ethics are absolutely bang on. So nothing affects me. I am a 'nanga' actor. For me what matters is my relationship with the camera and nothing else. The world stops existing for me when the camera rolls.
14. 'I Want To Sign A Film That Can Reduce The Probability Of Failure'
I have 'Force 2' releasing on 18th of November. But after that there's no other film that I have signed. That's why I am nervous. I want to sign a film that can reduce the probability of failure.
15. 'Men Are Not The Men They Used To Be'
I believe in constructive criticism. It's fantastic and important too. So to be criticized is great, to listen to criticism is good. But I am smart enough to understand the difference between constructive criticism and just someone who is trying to hit you below the belt. Social media is effective but it has also created monsters. It has created people who don't have faces. When you don't have a face you become brave. So men are not the men they used to be. Honesty on internet doesn't exist. There is so much of voyeurism and everything else that's there. So I appreciate constructive criticism. I take what's need to be done to improve myself.