John Abraham is the one self-made actor, who will change you perception when you spend 5 minutes with him! Our minds were definitely blown away while interviewing this actor, because he is full of honesty (a rare quality to find in the industry) and certainly a great person to speak to! Anyway, he spoke to us about Sylvester Stallone, his journey of becoming a producer, his lesser known vulnerable side, his revamp phase and more.
Here are the excerpts:
Can we say that ROCKY HANDSOME is sort of a tribute to Sylevester Stallone's ROCKY?
No actually. It's a completely different beast. But I'm happy Rocky is used because it's my homage to Stallone. I decided to work and get into shape after watching him in ROCKY IV. He made a lot of difference in my life and I wanted to in a lot of people's lives positively. If he sees or even knows that the film exists is big for me. I like the guy and felt sad when he didn't win the Oscars.
You are very much confident about ROCKY HANDSOME. What's the secret behind that?
I'm very confident it's a good film. I don't know about numbers, because if I did, then I would make only hit films. My banner, at JA Entertainment, we only want to make quality films. With ROCKY HANDSOME, I've gone very safe with the film I want to make. It's commercially the safest film. My first was on sperm donation and second was killing of PM. Being in the space of playing safe commercially, I wanted to do 2 things - content and a great director. I think I got those two right. We only want the world to know that ROCKY HANDSOME is releasing on 25th March. Then it is people's choice whether to watch the film or no.
How did you strike the balance between being the tough guy as well as brining in the vulnerability?
I am that guy. When I did JISM, Bhatt saab called me and said that he wanted a guy who looks tough but has the vulnerability of a child. He said last time he saw someone like that was Sanjay Dutt and suggested me to be in films when I was a model. Then I did JISM and it became a hit but I didn't even know what a hit was till my last 4 films flopped. In my heart, I'm a very soft and emotional person and can cry very easily. I also know that I have a tough exterior, but nobody would believe me that I've never even hurt a fly. I've never fought or been hit in school or college either. I'm not confrontational and don't prove a point to its strength, which is what Rocky is all about. Diya is that child who breaks the guy down completely and that's the beauty of a child.
Which side is more comfortable for you - the softer or rock solid side?
I love the emotional (softer) side of things and live for that space. It's probably because I love pain. The toughest thing to do is make people laugh.
Once people used to call you Salman Khan, but now you are known as John yourself...
Yeah, it's important to build your own identity. When you're new, people call you by other names. Not only Salman Khan, I could've been called anybody else because people didn't know me then. Once people know you, then they'll identify. Right now there are other actors whom you can by mistake call John. When I had long hair, certain others did too. But I paid no heed to that.
You have seen a lot of ups and downs. So how would you define your journey?
Every time I went down, I didn't realize it till I went up again. I had 3-4 flops in a row in 2010 - JHOOTHA HI SAHI, AASHAYEIN, 7 KHOON MAAF, I, ME AUR MAIN after which I had FORCE, SHOOTOUT AT WADALA, HOUSEFULL 2, RACE 2, VICKY DONOR, WELCOME BACK, MADRAS CAFE. I've only had a good run. I read somewhere that John Abraham is over, but the only thing that got me back is self-conviction.
Right from starting off with something as unconventional as considered at that time and now to sort of make choices like MADRAS CAFE or even as a producer, what, apart from your personality, is that sort of reflects in these choices?
First of all, as an actor, I didn't get the opportunity to work in the kind of films I'm making initially, which is why I decided to produce. When I got into production, I realized that there are certain films I don't fit into, which is why I casted Ayushmann and in the future I'll cast someone else. But you want a certain kind of cinema to be seen by certain audience. It took me time because I had to build that credible base of being the sort of star to kind of sell your idea. The minute I got that opportunity, I sold VICKY DONOR and MADRAS CAFE. I want people to understand that what I'm saying does make sense. I'm not here to bullshit anyone but to make good cinema and marry commerce with content. If you see, MADRAS CAFE was a first of its kind. You now have an AIRLIFT and NEERJA and it's so heartening to see that these films are working beautifully. Similarly, it's important that someone has to make a change somewhere. I like being that person but also get beaten for it. It's an enjoyable process. I believe NO SMOKING is one of my best films. People walked out of the film but I told Anurag let's make a sequel of the flop film. This even shocked Anurag. I feel we can make a cooler sequel and make different, edgy films for you guys to enjoy.
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