Interview : John Abraham



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The hunk is back in action. John Abraham breezed in to launch the first season of Kolkata Fashion & Lifestyle Week. Our correspondent caught up with the actor on fashion, fitness, Bipasha…Bipasha…and more Bipasha

Now that you launched the first season of Kolkata Fashion & Lifestyle Week (KFLW), are we going to see you rock the ramp as well?
I am not going to walk the ramp. I have come to Kolkata to present the show on behalf of Purple People (organizers). And the intention is to make sure that it provides a platform to the young designers of the city with the help of established names.

Do you have a favourite designer from Kolkata?
Well, I came here the last time, but to be honest with you, I work primarily with only two designers…both of them are Mumbai designers-Narendra Kumar Ahmad and Rocky S. This year I will look forward to someone from Kolkata; but at the moment there aren’t any favourite designers from the city. However, I find Sabyasachi is mercurial and brilliant.

If you don’t like Kolkata designers, why are you promoting them?
See, I didn’t say that with any negative intention. I am here to help them get a

“I walked very flamboyantly wearing the lahenga”

platform to showcase to showcase their talent. The intention is to give them an opportunity, like I was given when I came to the industry. If I can give them an opportunity, or work as a medium to provide them an opportunity, I will come to Kolkata again and again. If I am called for a college function or a social function, I go there without asking a single question, because I think someone benefits from that. But if I am called for a function that involve, say, an alcohol or pan masala brand, I simply won’t do it.

Do you remember any incident from your modeling days, where you got a hatke opportunity to showcase your talent?
It was in 2000; I had just become a model. At that time, I wore Monaji (designer Mona Lamba of Monapali) lehenga for a dot-com. It was obviously for women. But I walked very flamboyantly, bare-bodied…wearing the lahenga. I could see the reaction of the audience …some of them loved it; others were a little stunned. But till date, I thank Monaji for her support. I was a new model then and I needed that support. I can’t forget that.

What will you tell the young designers who will be participating at the KFLW?
Young designers have to keep one thing clear in their head…it’s not about actors walking the ramp for you…but your collection being showcased…that’s very important.

You joined films with a modeling background. Now when you walk the ramp, do you notice any difference in the spectator mindset? May be, the ‘star’ factor?
Yeah…you are right. Now when I walk the ramp, my sole identity is that of ‘John Abraham’; people say ‘John Abraham is wearing these clothes’ or ‘John Abraham is wearing that’. Unlike in films, where we change characters; we assume a new life every three or six months.

So, what character you are playing at the moment?
I am not working for the past six months. So at the moment, I am John Abraham only (smiles).

Surely you don’t enjoy being ‘John Abraham’ all the time…
That’s why; I enjoy films more than modeling as they are more dynamic for me. Modeling was good at one point of time. I remember, I used to get off at Mumbai airport and take a boarding pass for Goa for a Wendell Rodricks show; come back at the airport and take another pass for a JJ Valaya show. So the movement was much more…it was fun at that time. But after that, there was a graduation for me which, I think, was a natural progression.


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What’s fashion to you?
Fashion to me is just being comfortable in what you are wearing. I think that’s the primary aim of fashion. For me, fashion is being comfortable in your own skin, own clothes. Create an impression for your self rather than for people.

Bipasha Basu has recently released her fitness DVD. Do you have any plans like that?
Well, right now there are no plans. Bipasha has got a great fitness DVD. I personally have tried out the workouts in the DVD. And as much as Bipasha said it’s for women; I would say, the workouts are equally good for men. She is also coming out with a second DVD in due course of time for both men and women; but I just think I should follow her routines right now.

So, now Bipasha is helping you out to maintain your six-packs?
(Laughs) Yes, times have changed. Now she (Bipasha) walks into the gym and says ‘Hey, it’s not the right posture’.

Who is the fitness freak between you two?
Bipasha is the tough one. She is in the most amazing shape right now. The first

“Bipasha is in the most amazing shape
of her life”

time I saw her post her fitness sessions (though earlier saw her photos while shooting outdoors), my jaws dropped. I told her ‘This cannot be for real…this is so good!’ She is just absolutely wonderful and is in the prime shape of her life.

But how much do you think the workouts will help a layman?
The DVDs are very very functional ones. It’s not an actor coming out with a DVD to increase equity. She wants to give back to people what she believes will be the most effective and help them to get a nice toned body.

That mean, you don’t want to come up with a DVD so that Bipasha doesn’t have a competitor?
I will come out with a DVD may be 15-20 years later, when I am fitter. At the moment, Bipasha is fitter than me.

When you sign a new film, what are the priorities?
Well, the first priority is the entire set up-the director, the producer; and then the hero of the film, i.e., the script. I remember watching Bipasha’s Bengali film SHOB CHARITRO KALPONIK and I was stunned it was such a beautiful film. I sat through every moment and I realized that sometimes there are certain cinemas that miss out on certain aspects of making. And I think Bengali films are so beautifully layered that I love watching them. Similarly, in Tamil films, they show romance so beautifully. So I think, the most important thing is script. That something I primarily look out for.

For quite sometime, there has been no new release from your kitty. How long your fans will have to wait for that?
I did DOSTANA in 2008, NEW YORK in 2009. There’s an Abbas Tyrewala film, produced by Sanjeev Goenka, that’s coming out in 2010. And then, there’s DOSTANA 2 in 2011. The idea is to think like a mathematician and just try to improve your success ratio. So, do lesser work and try to do films that are qualitatively entertaining to the audience. Earlier I was learning as an actor and I picked up scripts that were not so good; some were really good. So I am learning through the entire process and trying to be a little more selective. Now I want to make sure that if anything comes out, that has to be a quality product. Like in media terms they say, it’s not always the OTS (Opportunity To See) levels; it’s also what you see all the time, is important.