John Abraham: Who says action can’t be sensual?

globalmovie     22 Mar,2016         No Comment

John Abraham: Who says action can’t be sensual?

Rambo raging with additional sexy sinews. That would be something to throw adrenaline junkies into a frenzy and make them drool. At 6 ft 1½ inches and 94 kgs, John is the most non-violent action man, who “you don’t want to mess with.” Fourteen years ago, he threw himself into the ring with rugged rawness. Without any Bollywood blood-ties or brotherhood that would give him a ticket to stardom. He became the country’s sex symbol, and still is. That and more. Now, he is a sharp producer who knows where to bet his bucks and an actor whose brain flexes more that his bulging muscles. Also, a creative man who campaigns the need for new talent in the industry, outside of its bloodline. Awaiting the release of his next action film ‘Rocky Handsome,’ John packs in a lot in this heart-to-heart. From his heavy-weight views on godfathers and good content, to six-pack abs and the Spartan-like stock of stars in Bollywood. Read on…

Rocky Handsome is an interesting title. Is it inspired by the original, Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky?

Well, yes I am a Stallone fan, but we also surveyed this name and the results were astonishing. Rocky also rhymed with Johnny, which is what girls nicknamed me in my school days. The film, of course, is inspired by a Korean film called ‘The Man From Nowhere,’ though that forms only the crux of the plot. Nishi (director Nishikant Kamat) is so brilliant that he has turned it around completely. I can say with a lot of pride that it is a better adaptation. The emotional quotient is so high that it’s a tear-jerker, but it’s also a bright film. I don’t believe in a plain action film, it doesn’t do anything for me or anyone.

You said that you wanted to make action look sexy.

Yes, I think action can be very sexy. The stunts in this film are not bloody and gory. When I showed the action scenes to guys, they were obviously tripping. Interestingly, when I showed it to the female audience, they liked it even more. Maybe, the mix of emotions and action worked for them, and they thought it looked sexy! Who says action can’t be sensual?

As a producer, are you more conscious of the films you do as an actor?

I have become cautious about my movies being accepted. If I am doing a film like ‘Welcome Back,’ it’s because I know that a large section of our audience would lap it up. ‘Madras Cafe’ was my pet subject, and for seven years I roamed around with that script. I was thrown out of every studio, until one of them backed me. So, as an actor I do films that appeal to an audience. As a producer, I do films that appeal to me, as well. With ‘Rocky Handsome,’ I have made a transition into larger commercial format movies. I will always ensure that the quality of a JA Entertainment film is high. That’s why I make fewer films as I am not a soap factory. I take my time and plan films, people make them.

You take pride in being called an action hero. Or should I say Action Abraham. However, a lot of the younger actors don’t like being labelled?

It is important that people understand that action is my space now. A lot of actors prepare for item songs at award functions, weddings and even in their movies. Likewise, my action sequences are my item numbers. My body language is also crucial to my image as an action hero. People see me and say that I am an action hero. At 6 ft 1½ inches, and 94 kgs, I am probably the most non-violent guy around, but I don’t think anyone would want to run into me, neither would I want to. The genres I love the most are action, comedy and action-comedy.

In an interview, Akshay Kumar had said that reinventing in this genre is not easy.

That is the reason action needs to have a heart, like in the case of ‘Rocky Handsome.’ For me, content is more important than the genre of the film. But most of the content that is gravitating towards me is action or comedy. To make me do a sweet romantic film, I need a director who can position me that way. I met Sanjay Leela Bhansali and we had a great conversation. The first thing he told me was that I should do more romantic films. Only a director of his calibre can say that or do that.
john body pic
There have been highs and lows in your career, but you always believed in flying solo.

Totally! My audience always stands up for me. I have been here for 14 years and my audience has been my biggest Godfather. Whenever my cards are down, they pull me up again. I love this industry, though people find it strange that I don’t belong to any particular group. It’s by choice. I do not owe my allegiance to anyone. I give credit to myself and I think it takes a lot of b**ls to do that.

You don’t feel threatened by the newer generation?

I would like to co-exist with the newer lot, as I am very secure as an actor. All the new boys and girls are fantastic. Like Varun (Dhawan) is such a cool guy, I love him. I am doing a film with Sonakshi (Sinha) and she’s one of my best co-stars. The newer lot have no baggage and I can relate to them easily. I would love to act and produce films with them. I called Tiger Shroff and Aditya Roy Kapur and asked them if they are interested in certain subjects. And they both were eager and excited about it. There is a certain sense of security the younger lot have in me, as they know that I’m selfless when it comes to making good cinema.

Do you think the way casting is done in Bollywood films has changed? I mean, the cast is more driven by demands of content.

Not really. Let’s face it, there is still strong nepotism in our industry, and it needs to change. People like me will always have to prove ourselves, though I look at it constructively. I never say it’s unfair. Not only in the film industry, it happens even in industrial families. In India, specifically, family comes first. I believe that we need to back newcomers and not make them feel like outsiders. There is a lot of talent in a country of 1.2 billion who are worth backing. I want my production house to be the face of those people.

We need to focus on other areas, too. Like scripts and stories. You have said that our film industry lacks good scripts.
We still make proposals and not good films. That needs to change. We need to start making films and believing in them. Producers and studios need to start backing content-based films. This is a common trap every producer falls into, including myself. We look at an actor and say, ‘If we sign this man or woman, what is my recovery?’ But hello, have faith in the script here. I always say this; ‘X- Men’ made Hugh Jackman the star he is. Hugh Jackman wasn’t put in there to make ‘X-Men’ big. The change in mindset needs to start from the top. We need to create new stars and newer stories.

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